The best day to do your Thanksgiving shopping, according to grocery store managers

Managers encourage locals to shop early, expect plenty of shortages
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MADISON, Wis.– There’s one thing you’ll find in almost every grocery store aisle right now: empty space.

From the meat department to Wisconsin’s bread and butter~ dairy~ grocery store managers are struggling to keep products in nearly every aisle stocked ahead of the winter holidays.

“Just like you do for Christmas with gift-giving,” said Tim Metcalfe, owner of two Madison-area stores, “plan ahead on how many people you’re having over and what you’re serving.”

When to shop

At Metcalfe’s Madison stores, Tim gets shipments in every department four to six days a week.

“If there’s a word of advice, I’d say come in on a Wednesday or a Thursday,” said Metcalfe. “We’re pretty much recovered from the previous weekend and should be fairly well-stocked and prepared for the next one.”

In Verona, Miller & Sons is on a similar schedule, with shipments coming in every day of the week, except Sunday.

Grocery manager Dana Knudtson personally recommends a specific shopping strategy.

“I shop on Thursday,” she told News 3 Now. “Now, you’ve had pretty much all your vendors in the store, your product is full, and on Wednesday, bread vendors don’t work. So if you go then, your bread is short.”

What to expect

Speaking of shortages, Knudtson says turkeys are currently in stock and on sale at Miller & Sons, but she doesn’t expect the supply will stay that way.

“Is there going to be a day that you come in and the product was there yesterday and it’s gone today? Yes, there’s going to be that. We have that all the time,” she said.

RELATED: Trouble finding certain products at Madison grocery stores? You’re not alone.

If you find what you need, Knudtson recommends buying and freezing now.

Get ready to pay more, too.

Prices are up on products in nearly every aisle: specialty items in particular. Metcalfe says prime, wagyu, and tenderloins have nearly doubled in price in the past year.

“My fear is that it might continue,” Metcalfe said. “Hopefully we’ll get caught up after the holidays.”

How to save money

Most stores print their current deals online.

Click here for Miller & Sons’ weekly ad.

Click here for Metcalfe’s weekly ad.

RELATED: 9 donation, Thanksgiving meal resources for the Dane County community