That’s Snow Biz…

Back-to-back snowstorms on the East Coast have brought a blizzard of sales of shovels, groceries and booze. For airlines and department stores, the region’s wintry weather has resulted in millions of dollars of lost revenue, according to a story in The Associated Press.

As businesses tallied up the impact of the second major snowstorm in less than a week, forecasters warned of a third wave of snow that could hit the Northeast.

Airlines have canceled hundreds of flights in the past week and stand to lose millions of dollars, while retailers concentrated in the East – such as BJ’s Wholesale and Dick’s Sporting Goods– are likely take a noticeable hit to first-quarter revenue, analysts say.

Not all businesses cursed the bad weather, however. Ski resorts, liquor shops and hardware stores counted themselves lucky as out-of-school kids hit the slopes, and the grown-ups bought shovels – and booze – as the snow piled up.

Also happy about the snow was Mitch Aaronson, co-owner of Cairo Wine & Liquor in Washington. Aaronson said sales tripled last Saturday just before the first storm dumped two feet of snow on the capital. With the federal government shut down, the cash register has been ringing steadily ever since.

“People are even asking us for things we don’t sell, like milk,” Aaronson said.

At Frager’s Hardware in Washington’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, owner John Weintraub said he sold out of Duraflame logs and can’t restock because his supplier ran out too. At a nearby Ace Hardware, co-owner Gina Schaefer said people bought all the snow shovels she had, then they bought garden shovels.

In Philadelphia, James Crouthamel, a manager at Fairmount Ace Hardware, said sales of rock salt and snow shovels were booming. But he didn’t think he would run out, “as long as the (delivery) truck gets here.”

The school and government closures are a boon to ski resorts within driving distance of big cities. The abundant snowfall reduces costly electricity used for man-made snow, said Don MacAskill, general manager of Pennsylvania’s Whitetail ski area, located about 90 minutes from Washington.

The storms have brought extra work for plumbers and other handymen.

Photo by Associated Press.

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