Snow gear in high demand

Unprecedented snowfalls led to arguments over buying the last snow shovel in one Red Deer store.

Unprecedented snowfalls led to arguments over buying the last snow shovel in one Red Deer store.

“We’ve had customers fight over the last shovel on the shelf,” Sarah Powlesland, inventory manager for Canadian Tire North in Red Deer, said Thursday. “It has been an interesting season.

“We deal with it as we can, and get through each day. We’re getting direct shipments of everything because we’re putting it on the shelves and it’s immediately flying off the shelves.”

Since the snow started in early November, more than 112 cm of snow has fallen in Red Deer, according to Environment Canada.

Powlesland said it has been tricky to keep up with demand for snow-removal equipment.

“Snowblowers, we can’t keep them in stock,” said Powlesland.

“We have customers lining up at customer service waiting for the snowblowers as we’re unloading them.”

She said some people are willing to fork over whatever it costs for a snowblower because they are so sick of having to shovel snow.

“We’ve had repeat customers come back and say to us ‘I just bought a snowblower, the snow is so heavy that it burned out the motor,’ ” said Powlesland.

And it’s not just shovels or snowblowers — wiper blades and ice scrapers for vehicles have been hard to keep in stock as well.

It’s a similar story at the Red Deer Co-op Home Centre, where hardware manager Brian Battensby said he has never seen a winter like this in his 30 years in the business. He said four items in particular — snowblowers, roof rakes, salt and shovels — have been selling significantly more than usual.

They have a waiting list of more than 100 people wanting roof rakes — tools to help people clear snow and ice off roofs. They only get about 30 to 40 in per shipment.

He said they’ve sold about six times as many snowblowers this year as they would in a normal year.

He had one in stock on Thursday and was expecting another 18 to come in on Friday.

“After these last ones come in, our warehouse will be sold out and the supplier is also sold out,” said Battensby.

“They’ve cleaned out the supplier.”

Powlesland said this year’s booming sales of snow-clearing equipment will make it a little harder to predict how much they should stock next year.

But it isn’t all gloom and doom.

Powlesland said they’ve started putting barbecues out. People have come in and expressed joy at being reminded that the snow will eventually come to an end.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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