A Caterpillar equipped with a snow blade moves snow in the Wapakoneta Walmart parking lot.
Local businesses saw increases in sales for snow removal equipment Wednesday as a storm hit the Auglaize County area Wednesday and dumped more than half-a-foot of snow.
While they did see an increase in sales for shovels, snow blowers and other appliances, the normal rush for equipment prior to a forecasted storm was not as busy as usual.
“I think a lot of people were just afraid to go out,” Wapakoneta Sears store owner Ted Yewey said. “We did sell a few snowblowers and some shovels, but we still have plenty left.”
Yewey said after experiencing “normal” store traffic in the morning on Wednesday, only one customer visited the store after 12:30 p.m. The store followed suit with many other local businesses and closed for the day at 3 p.m.
Yewey said the store would be open for its normal business hours today.
In St. Marys, the Tractor Supply Company, one of the few stores open in St. Marys Square, saw plenty of business.
“We’ve been selling a lot of generators,” Assistant Manager Joe Voisin said. “I don’t know if people are just worried about the possibility of the power going off with us being under a blizzard warning.”
Other items that have been heavy sellers are snow shovels, salt, Carhartt outerwear and pet food.
“It’s been pretty steady,” Voisin said.
Further down the strip, Sears owner Mike Sims manned the store by himself, after letting all his employees go home, as some lived out of town.
The most popular sale item today, he said, has been snowblowers — or parts for snowblowers people already owned that needed replacing.
“I could hardly get the lights turned on this morning because of the people coming in,” Sims said. “Shoppers for general merchandise have been few and far between. We sell shovels and ice and salt, but this snow is so heavy that I don’t think people are interested in shoveling. I live in town so I’m sticking around for the people who will have a long evening of shoveling unless they get their snow thrower.”
The Kroger in St. Marys was not only open today, but store manager Tim Lacy said employees were prepared for the rush of people Wednesday morning.
“We pay attention to the weather,” Lacy said. “It always comes as a rush in the morning but then it’ll die off this evening. It’s always the basics that they buy, sidewalk salt and shovels. They’ll buy those things, too, that they may not have been prepared for.”
Staff Writer Meredith Enkoff contributed to this story.