If you're lucky, you may be able to grab a shopping cart's worth of survival supplies that can help you get through the disaster. However, there's another way to get all your basic survival needs: Don't shop in big box stores. (h/t to BeansBulletsBandagesAndYou.com)
As their name implies, big box stores are massive. Because of this abundance of space, they also have an abundance of shelves filled with different kinds of products that they can sell quickly. The advantage of this is that prices tend to be cheaper. The downside is that they can minimize on stored goods, which works well for them as long as the supply chains run smoothly. However, disasters are well-known for causing a lot of chaos.
Smaller stores don't have this problem. To get a decent price on their products, owners of smaller stores need to buy a lot of them, sometimes even as much as big box stores. However, because they lack the shelf space, they keep more of their products in storage. If you go to your corner mom and pop store, you may see shelves filled with items that are closer to their "best by" dates than similar goods in big box stores. One advantage this has is that it takes small businesses longer before they run out of products.
Furthermore, small businesses can go by relatively unnoticed. They can usually be found in small, rural neighborhoods, or if they're in cities, away from central business districts and more commercial areas.
Small businesses are also great for self-sufficient lifestyles. If you're fond of making things from scratch – or want to learn how to do so – then many mom and pop stores can provide you with things you may need. With the ingredients that are on sale in small businesses, you can learn how to bake your own bread, grow your own vegetables and repair your own clothing.
Small businesses are gold mines for preppers and survivalists. They're invaluable if you're living in rural areas because they might be the only store within miles, and they're fantastic for city dwellers as well because they won't be as crowded as big box stores. Here are other tips to consider if you want to buy supplies from small businesses:
Check your online maps and start looking around for smaller stores in your area. You'll never know what you might find useful for your homestead.