Archived Story

Lack of snow both good, bad for hardware stores [UPDATED]

Published 9:47am Tuesday, January 31, 2012 Updated 11:48am Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Last year people in west central Minnesota, including the Ashby area, were using shovels in full force. Snowblowers were in use after heavy snowfalls. This year it’s the complete opposite.

The upside from the lack of snow, however, is increased sales of chainsaws and other items.

“We’ve sold items related to home improvements, something you don’t normally see this time of year,” said Dan Johnson who owns Ashby Hardware Hank along with his wife, Heidi.

The Johnsons have owned the hardware store in Ashby for 10 years.

“For two winters, to promote the sale of snowblowers, it was the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Dan. “During those two winter seasons I displayed a snow blower in front of the store. With the lack of snow it didn’t sell. I purchased it myself for the third year. Sure enough, it started snowing.”

The lack of snowfall has meant that people who normally use shovels on their walkways or driveways have other opportunities. An example is volunteers shoveling snow along trails deep in the woods, for cross country skiers and others.

“We understand that there’s a lot of people who have felt a real lack of opportunities to shovel this year and we’re here to fill that need,” joked John Munger, executive director of the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation.

“I know people built up those shoveling muscles last year,” he told a reporter with the Associated Press.

The ski foundation organized snow shoveling parties twice a day beginning Wednesday, Jan. 25. It’s the first time in five years they’ve had to call on volunteer shovelers.

On Friday, Jan. 27, Brenda Lillemon displayed some snow shovels for customers at Ashby Hardware Hank.

“I haven’t had to do this (display shovels) very much this winter,” said Lillemon. “Even though the days are getting longer, we can still get a lot of snow in February March and even April.”

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