Y2K+ Store Comes to the Carolinas

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Wednesday April 28, 1999 12:26 p.m. EDT

Couple Opening Store Catering to Y2K Survival Preparations

Richmond County Daily Journal ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (AP) -- While some folks are hoping for the best regarding Y2K concerns, others are preparing for the worst by stocking up on dry packaged foods and other survival standbys.

A booming market has been born to meet the needs of Y2K survivalists.

Ed and Jeanne Henry have taken the lead in Richmond County with their Y2K Plus, scheduled to open Saturday.

Y2K Plus, dubbed an emergency food pantry, is a Y2K survivalist's paradise, offering dry packaged foods, solar energy equipment, soy-based products and cookbooks on cooking with home storage.

Customers can bring dry foods to the store for vacuum packaging or buy dry packaged foods right off the shelves.

Ed Henry even offers a training course on-site concerning how to package your own food products. The key is keeping oxygen and humidity out of products destined for storage, he said.

With items like nitrogen blankets and oxygen absorbers, which the store also sells, dry-packaged products can have a shelf life of 25 years in excellent storage conditions, meaning controlled environments, and five years in poor storage conditions.

``There's a whole new technology here that's new to the world,'' said Jim Hall, who buys goods for the store and is a former buyer/contracts administrator for IBM.

Although the store was created out of a timely need, the Henrys have been involved in teaching people survival skills for more than 30 years. There are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Hall is a minister of a local congregation.

``Mormons encourage people to be self-sustaining and self-sufficient,'' said Hall.

If people lose their jobs, they shouldn't have to depend on the government, other people, or even the church, he said.

``When people are in charge of their own destiny, they are more comfortable,'' he said.

Henry and his wife put their business on the Internet, filling orders from all over the Western Hemisphere, he said.

One they got the food line up and running, they began selling solar equipment for use in the event of extended power outages.

The store offers a range of solar products, from panels that could be used for light to solar-rechargeable lanterns and radios.

The store owners boast a water filter, made in Switzerland, that can filtrate up to 14,000 gallons of water before needing replacement.

On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most disruption Y2K could cause, Henry and Hall give it about a 4-1/2 to 5.

Hall said the United States is spending a lot of money on becoming Y2K compliant, while Europe is spending half as much and Asia is doing nothing at all, he said. ``Their dirt will rub off on us.''

The American people will get an interesting wake-up call when they see what happens at the turn of the year, said Hall. And by the beginning of the year, people will realize the importance of having stored food.

If people are going to order, they needed to do it yesterday, said Hall. The longer customers wait, the more it will cost.

The problems of Y2K will be around at least a decade before they are eradicated, said Ed. If people are hungry, they will become ``takers.''

``How many people will be self-sufficient and how many will be takers?'' Ed asked.


Copyright )1999 Associated Press

-- Lee P. Lapin (lplapin@hotmail.com), April 28, 1999

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