The two feet of snow that started falling Christmas Eve was the cold and heavy straw that broke the homeowner's back.
Those able to dig themselves out Sunday raced to stores across town to gobble up snowblowers, ATV plows and shovels.
"We had people lining up in the parking lot (outside the store) at 10:30 (a.m.) waiting for us to open at noon," said Jay Gratzek, manager of Tractor Supply Company. "We sold out in 15 minutes. No snowblowers, no shovels, no grain scoops. We are completely out."
Whitney Pandil-Eaton/MDN •
The shelves that were once full of snowblowers in WalMart’s Lawn and Garden Center lay nearly bare Wednesday afternoon with the exception of a few shovels. Unable to talk specifics due to company policy, store manager Dave Bussard said sales of snowblowers, shovels and other winter gear has been very good and they are anticipating a shipment of snowblowers, roof rakes and shovels in the near future.
Flying out the door were 12 snowblowers, ranging in price from $650 to $800, and nearly 80 shovels and grain scoops.
The same was true at Ace Hardware at Arrowhead Sunday, where all 15 snowblowers in stock were sold within 30 minutes of the store's noon opening.
"We have eight more MTD snowblowers coming on Tuesday and Ariens (snowblowers) coming a week later, but half of these have already been reserved," said Larry Kobes, owner. "Shovels, too, as soon as we get them in they're gone."
Being unable to open Sunday was a blessing in disguise for Pure Honda.
"Everybody in town was out Sunday, so when we opened up on Monday we saw a lot of people coming in looking (for snowblowers)," said Darin Benno, a sales and marketing rep with Pure Honda. "We only have about five left."
This was the first year Pure Honda carried the snowblower line, which ranges from $650 to $2,000.
"Not many knew we had snowblowers because we didn't carry them the last five years," Benno said. "But after the first snow we sold some and since then we've sold 20 or more. The snow has been a real blessing."
A blessing maybe for those with snowmobiles and snowblowers, but a nightmare for those who don't.
On Wednesday, many stores were still empty-handed.
Ace Hardware, Tractor Supply and WalMart had only a small supply of shovels, while stores like Pure Honda and Sears had a meager number of snowblowers available.
Beginning with 10 models earlier this fall, Sears was down to one orderable snowblower model Wednesday, said Lacy Braaflat, store associate.
"We've ordered a bunch, but everybody's backed up even the warehouses are out," she said.
"There's a lot of snow in the Midwest and East, so supply has been a problem," Gratzek said. "The distribution chain has been affected too because of travel conditions, which has made the supply problem worse."
Snowblower retailers said sales this year has mirrored or exceeded last year.
"We had really high early (season snowblower) sales this year, which didn't happen last year," Kobes said. "I think people didn't want to get stuck without one."
Other winter items like sand tubes, apparel, ATV plows and tracks and snow rakes have also been dwindling in numbers as the threat of more snow lingers over the area.
Even those with snowblowers have been forced to play the waiting game as repair shops are beyond capacity. Representatives with Pure Honda, Sears and Ace Hardware said they are seeing a variety of issues, from routine tune-ups to gas-related repairs and snowblower belt replacements.
"We are having trouble keeping up," Kobes said. "More people are needing services than we are able to help."