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Snow sparks business boom

Sales up for shops that sell winter gear

Published: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 11:13 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Kyle Grillot – kgrillot@shawmedia.com)
Mechanic Mitch McGowan of Spring Grove moves a used snowmobile onto the floor at Novotny Sales Friday in Johnsburg. The early onset of winter with several snow events before winter technically began could be good business for snowmobile dealers, smaller shops that sell snowblowers, independent snow plow operators.

The blistering start to winter that has blanketed the area with snow and frigid temperatures means business is booming for Rick Pasturczak.

Customers have flocked early and often to his Alpine Accessories store in Lake in the Hills for winter jackets, gear, and even battery-heated gloves and boots to combat the early start to winter.

If the winter pattern continues, Alpine Accessories will benefit greatly after enduring milder winters in recent years, said Pasturczak, who owns the winter apparel shop.

"If we continue to have snow and cold weather after the holidays, business will pick up," he said. "No doubt about it."

The winter weather that brought 8 to 11 inches of snow to McHenry County earlier this week and recent subfreezing temperatures is expected to continue throughout January, according to the National Weather Service.

Chicago-area residents can anticipate below average temperatures and sporadic winter storms in January, said NWS meteorologist David Beachler. The area typically sees temperatures top at 31 degrees for the month.

Continued winter storms would only add to the massive snowfall totals to hit the Chicago area.

The National Weather Service's official reading site – O'Hare International Airport – has seen 22.1 inches of snow since Dec. 1. That total is 13.1 inches above the winter season average, Beachler said.

Businesses that sell winter apparel, snowblowers, shovels and salt depend on those wintry forecasts. Colder temperatures and snowier conditions usually create an uptick in customers at Alpine Accessories, Pasturczak said.

It also creates enthusiasm for those customers wanting to sled, snowmobile and snowboard.

"If mother nature keeps this up, people are going to be outside and want to have fun," Pasturczak said. "If that happens, people obviously will need more gear."

Kip Novotny has seen similar effects at his shop. Since December, Novotny Sales has been selling snowmobiles, snowblowers and shovels "like crazy" to prepare for the early winter start, Novotny said.

The Johnsburg business offers an array of snowmobiles and snowblowers in the winter and focuses on swimming pools and grills in the summer.

The influx of early wintertime customers this season is a marked difference from previous winters, Novotny said.

"I'm thinking it's going to be a snowy and cold winter," he said. "With the bad weather, people who were on the fence are definitely buying materials now."

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