Braving the storm: Okolona gas station stays open during freeze

OKOLONA, Miss. (WCBI) – While many businesses in our viewing area have adjusted their hours due to the hazardous weather conditions, a gas station in Okolona is braving the storm.

Happy Mart in Okolona is keeping its doors open 20 hours a day, so customers can continue to get food, fuel, or other provisions.

It is one of the few businesses in the area that has not modified its business hours regardless of weather conditions.

From 4 in the morning to midnight, the store has been open and ready for business, despite the crippling weather conditions.

Alcohol, hot food, and lottery tickets seem to be the commodities of choice for many of the store’s customers.

But one of the store’s hottest sellers has been something more essential for many residents right now. Propane tanks.

“We had a lot of people come in for the propane tanks and I’m really glad that we were here because that’s the only way they were heating their homes,” said Pricilla Wallace, Happy Mart employee.

Wallace said they’ve sold about 20 propane tanks a day since Sunday.

“We have sold over 60 this week already. That was important to me, to see that they were able to heat their homes. They didn’t have to go on the bypass, get on the bypass to go to Tupelo, and get propane. So, I’m just very happy we were here for it,” said Wallace.

Wallace said she hasn’t seen their distributors drop off goods since the roads began to freeze.

But they prepared for this exact scenario.

“If you get ready, you’ll be ready,” said Wallace.

After watching the warnings of the severe weather conditions on local news, Wallace said they wanted to make preparations just in case.

“Last Wednesday, starting with the chip guy: he came by, and we ordered extra boxes. We called in US Food for all of our meats. So we’ve got plenty of chicken and hamburgers. And the propane guy, we called him. We got extra propane so whatever you need, we got it,” said Wallace.

Trisha Brown works at Happy Mart in Okolona but lives in Nettleton.

“It took me about an hour to get to work. It was a lil’ drive, a lil icy,” said Brown.

She said her job impacts more than just her.

“It was important for me to come to work still to help provide for everybody and open up,” said Brown.

Christopher Randle is one of the store’s many customers.

He said he’s gassing up to go hunting and gives advice to anyone else who may be out on the roads.

“This the best time to go hunting. Don’t be riding these roads like you’re crazy, you know what I’m saying? Slow down,” said Brown.

If you do use propane to heat your homes, try to conserve as much energy as possible until you’re able to acquire a steady supply.

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