By Barbara Mellon
Winter has not been shy this year. Although the calendar said it wouldn’t start until December 22, snow was falling off and on for a few weeks before that. Sometimes it was just a smattering, but at other times it fell in classic snowstorm proportions. What a contrast to last winter when the entire month of December passed with nary a flurry.
Predictions from The 2008 Farmers’ Almanac bear out what we are already seeing. They call for the Northeast to experience a colder, snowier season than usual. This is good news for some local businesses, but quite the opposite for others.
Sally O’Neill, who with her husband Ed owns the Andes Hotel, says that their sales could increase as much as 30% because of the winter sports enthusiasts, and this increase impacts all aspects of their business. “In addition to the daily traffic that we get from skiers and snowmobilers in the restaurant and tavern, many [of them] stay over [in the hotel]. Anytime someone stays over they usually eat a meal or two here.” She also notices more second homeowners in the restaurant when the season is especially snowy, since many participate in winter sports. “If there is no snow, you may not see them again until spring,” O’Neill tells us.
Across the street at Hogan’s General Store, proprietor Don Hogan boasts that he predicted this winter would be colder and snowier than the last few without benefit of the Almanac. He, too, sees an increase in sales when plenty of white stuff falls from the sky, but adds the caveat that this depends on what day of the week it occurs. “Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday storms are the best. Everyone is dug out for the weekend,” Hogan states. “Weekend storms scare everyone away.” Gas for snowmobilers and bundled logs for fireplaces and woodstoves sell rapidly when the weather conditions are timed right, but every storm brings out what he calls “the panic people.” Believing that it may be days before they can get out, they stock up on milk, bread, eggs and other groceries, as well as beer and cigarettes. Hogan notes that snowmobilers and those plowing roads and driveways especially enjoy the drinks and hot foods he supplies, such as coffee, soups and Italian heroes.
One local farmer, when asked how the snow affects his business, told us “you couldn’t put my answer in print!”
John Gregg, proprietor of Paisley’s County Gallery, reports, “The timing of the snow in combination with the severely frigid conditions we’ve experienced recently has quite understandably affected our business, in terms of a diminishment of what we would expect for pre-Christmas sales. January is usually quite slow for us, anyway.” For a couple of weeks each February, Paisley’s holds their annual sale. Gregg tells us that this year they plan to run the sale for the entire month, “making that time period viable, we hope.” As they do each year, Gregg and partner Judy Garrison will close the store during the month of March for vacation. Expressing how he feels about that period of the year, Gregg quips “WHOOP-DE-DOO! We’re out of the snow.” ~