Say it ain't 'snow': people, hardware stores prepare for early-season snow

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - People are rushing to the stores to get prepared for this week's snow, and area hardware stores say have been forced to get ready earlier and faster, thanks to Mother Nature.

Staff at Lenoch & Cilek Ace Hardware in Iowa City stock the shelves with shovels preparing for an early-season snowfall on Monday, Oct. 29, 2019 (Randy Dircks/KCRG)

While many are buying ice melt and snow shovels for when the snow falls, not everyone was excited to see it falling before the end of October.

John Hooton, the store manager for Lenoch & Cilek Ace Hardware in Iowa City, said the preparations for the winter season at the store typically have not started yet. Because of the most recent forecast, staff are changing their plans this year.

"Normally this time of year, we'd just be getting our stuff out and getting ready and here are getting a rush on it now because people are getting ready for the snow that's coming tonight," Hooton said.

Hooton said the winter weather season is typically the most important and best-selling time of the year for the hardware store, which sold 122 tons of ice melt last season alone.

"Business is very weather-driven," Hooton said. "This spring, with all the rain we had, this spring kind of killed our fertilizer business. We've made up for it with ice melt and snow shovels."

Between the lights for holiday decorations, shovels, and ice melt, the staff is working to put things out on the shelves, while customers like Eric Peterson, an Iowa City resident, are buying them to take home.

"I had a number of errands to run and so the fact with the inch to two inches of snow, I thought I'd get some ice melt just to be prepared," Peterson said.

While many, like Peterson and Hooton, said they would like to think it is too early to think about snow, others like Al Paxton said he thinks he is late on preparing. Paxton took a break from work to head over to the hardware store.

"I spent 25 years of my working life in Minnesota, so I'm used to the dry snow, the wet snow's a little different, a little harder to move," Paxton said.

Being prepared for winter is one thing, but that does not mean once it starts falling, people have to like it.

"The older I get, the less I like winter," Peterson said. "So the longer Fall can last, the happier I'll be."