Early snowfall brings boost to local economy

Local businesses see long lines for shovels, sidewalk salt and snowblower repair

The falling temperatures mean a rising number of customers at some local businesses.

People are buying and repairing their winter gear at the last minute.

Since the middle of last week, when snow was in the forecast, local businesses have been seeing long lines of customers.

Those businesses say the early snowfall can really help their bottom line, but the snow has to stay.

All Seasons Lawn and Sport on La Crosse’s Northside has been in business for about 50 years. All those years have taught second-generation owner Paul Huber that winter is a season of question marks.

“It’s a real finicky business. It’s so weather-dictated. Without snow it can be a disaster,” Huber said.

Even with decades of experience, Huber was caught by surprise by the early November snowfall.

“Last week we were doing lawnmower repairs,” he said.

But that snow is bringing in quite a bit of business. Huber’s selling snow blowers, snowmobile parts and accessories, and his repair shop is full.

“Right now it’s really heavy on the repair side, and more snow blower than anything. We just can’t keep up on that side right now,” Huber said.

On the opposite side of town, Ace Hardware is seeing the same thing.

“Our service department got mobbed with everybody bringing in their snow blowers, getting them all ready for the season,” Ace Hardware key holder Rob Waldee said.

Waldee said since the day snow was in the forecast, the store has been buzzing with shoppers.

“It was a lot of snow shovels, sidewalk salt, bird food, even our pest department with the mouse food and everything started picking up,” Waldee said. “It’s just been a little bit of everything. It’s been pretty crazy.”

“We’re in that winter-mode all of the sudden,” Huber said.

Huber said he’s geared more toward winter activities, so a long winter can really help his business. So even though most people don’t want a long winter, he’s OK with it.

Even though both businesses say their repair shops are backed up, neither expects to hire more employees.