Weather hurts retailers who sell snow-related products



Demand for snow blowers and snowmobiles is down this winter.
By DON SHILLING
VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR
The warm winter has cut into sales at retailers who help local residents remove snow or even play in it.
"It hurts," said Marvin Kelly of Greenford Tractor Sales & amp; Service in Greenford.
Most snow blowers and snowmobiles are sold between September and November when people are getting ready for winter, he said. The business that's being hurt the most with the warm winter is the service work, he said.
"If they're not using them, they're not breaking them," he said.
Service work normally generates more revenue for the business than sales, he said.
Sales of winter equipment were down last fall, however, because the winter of 2005-06 also was warmer than normal, he said.
"When you're coming off a bad year, sales are light. When you're coming off a good year, sales are good," he said.
Adding to the problem for the retailer is the lack of snow in nearby regions. Most of the store's snowmobile customers ride in western Pennsylvania and New York, but those areas also are without snow, Kelly said.
Some of the customers have even called areas in Canada and found they were without snow.
Other items not selling
Sales of other winter items also are down. Normally, the store would be selling snow blades for pickup trucks and all-terrain vehicles, but it hasn't sold any since last summer.
Jay Curry, manager of the Do-Cut True Value store in Canfield, also said that sales of winter items -- snow blowers, salt and shovels -- are down.
"When it's 50 degrees, there's not a whole lot of use for them," he said.
On the flip side, homeowners are finding they can do other things outside in the warm weather, he said. Sales of chain saws are up, he said.
Customers also have been looking at lawn mowers and lawn-care products much earlier this year, he said.
Jean Maugel, manager of the Home Depot in Boardman, said the nationwide retailer has been sending more snow blowers to areas such as Denver that have been hit hard by snow.
Locally, customers seem to be more interested in interior projects because they don't have outside work to do, he said. One growing area of interest is storage organizing, he said.

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