Cold weather saps supplies at hardware storesPublished 3:50pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014
FRANKLIN—If the weekend weather forecast of snow had you searching for shovels, gloves and rock salt, you weren’t alone. Hardware shops in Western Tidewater have been doing a brisk business these past several days with last week’s snow, and what was predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Ice Melt was in big demand last week,’ said Steve Dail of Dail’s Home Center. “That was more ice than snow.”
He added that rock salt is cost-effective price-wise, but “people will take anything they can get.”
But the snowfalls in the Midwest and especially Northeast have been draining. Suppliers have told Dail they’ve been having difficulty keeping up. Last week there was enough product that melted ice and snow to meet demand, said Dail.
“But this week we can’t get enough. I’ve been calling all over. We’ve been getting lots of calls,” he added. “We ran out Monday morning.”
Propane is the next big mover, because many of Dail’s customers rely on it for their source of heat.
Space heaters are also sought, but “as many as eight states are out because suppliers miscalculated,” he said.
“This week, a lot of people looking for shovels, boots and insulated clothing. Last week it was so cold you couldn’t play in the snow,” said Dail.
Incidentally, there are no sleds in stock.
Infrared heaters such as Eden Pure have been another popular item, he said, because they are more economical than electric baseboards or propane.
But like so much else, the demand has exceeded the supply.
“We just got cleaned out,” said Dail. “The cold weather has been good for business, but I hate to see people who have had plumbing issues,” he added. “I feel terrible.”
Carlton Cutchin, the manager at Ace Hardware, said his store cash registers have also been busy since last week.
“Oh yes. The snow last week sparked up Ice Melt, shovels and stuff like that. Also because of the coldness, electric heaters…anything to keep warm,” said Cutchin.
Insulation, heat tape and similar items to protect water pipes have also been flying off the shelves.
He confirmed that the shortage of substances such as Ice Melt is not strictly a regional one, “it’s an East Coast problem,” he said. “Manufacturing can’t keep up. The whole country’s cold.”
Also, coveralls and bibs are in short supply because the manufacturers produce based on previous year’s sales.
Kids will be glad to know that there are 200 to 300 sleds in stock, he added.
If you’re thinking of driving to Courtland for supplies, know first that Edwards True Value Hardware in Courtland is out of Ice Melt for the time being. However, Bob Edwards said he still has water softener salt, sand and fertilizer.
“The polar vortex wiped out supplies,” he said.
Winter coats and gloves were available as of Tuesday morning, but were getting low.
There’s lot of kerosene heaters, said Edwards.
“People trying to back-up stuff right now,” he added. “Some people are trying to prepare.”