Mild winter affects local businesses

The warm, dry winter has been bad news for local businesses that depend on the snow and ice.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 10:00 PM EST
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SAGINAW TWP., Mich. (WNEM) - Despite the snow expected on Wednesday, this winter has been unusually warm and dry, which is bad news for businesses that depend on cold weather.

“The snow has been pretty sparse, so it’s slowed the sales down to snowblowers and our snowplows and things like that,” said Dave Wohlfeil, owner of Wohlfeil Ace Hardware.

This year’s winter season has been dry with snow deficits across mid-Michigan, like 14 inches below average in Saginaw and 9.5 inches below average in Flint.

That deficit is having a significant effect on the local economy, with businesses that rely heavily on snow and ice affected the most.

However, Wohlfeil said at his hardware store, a season of no snow is causing customers to prepare for next season.

“It slowed down our sales per day, although with the weather doing what it’s been doing, a lot of people have been buying spring products,” Wohlfeil said.

Wohlfeil said customers are coming in for items needed to prepare their gardens.

With a winter storm on the way, he said a few people have come in for snowblowers, but snow accumulation is what the store really needs.

“To get things moving here, selling again, we would have to have a sizable storm. You know, somewhere eight to 12 inch accumulation to pick up the sales momentum,” Wohlfeil said.

Wohlfeil said in order to have a successful season, he would need to sell about 200 snowblowers.