When winter weather strikes, people think about basic necessities: food, shelter and emergency preparations.
But keeping up with demand can be difficult for stores when roads are full of ice and snow.
Here’s a sampling of businesses that keep us going when it’s cold outside:
“Our customers count on us when the weather turns severe, so it’s important to have the products they’re looking for in order to feed their families,” said Sheila Lowrie, Dillons spokeswoman.
Fastest selling items: “All of the grocery staples. Things like milk, bread, bananas, potatoes and cold-weather foods like chili and canned soups.”
Biggest challenge: “Maintaining the delivery schedule. We have plans in place to add additional staff and drivers to distribution centers and routes as long as trucks are able to travel safely. … The biggest obstacle is safe passage on roadways that may be snowpacked and ice-covered. We work in advance to increase orders.”
Immedia te Medical Care (IMC), 4722 W. Kellogg Drive
“We try to stay open,” says physician owner Grover Hershberger. “We do a lot of business with employers in the area, and they always have employees who are injured. We have about 400 companies we’re responsible for (seeing employees with) workman’s compensation. We’re trying to be available for them and this is a prime time for that to occur.”
Biggest challenge: “The biggest challenge is getting the area (parking lot) cleaned in and out with minimal risk on their part and get … people to remove it while it’s snowing.”
Most common ailment: “The weather makes things about twice as bad. Your sore throat feels worse when it’s cold and that kind of stacks them up on us. Other than that, trips, slips from people misstepping or getting out of their vehicles.”
Fahnestock Plumbing, HVAC and Electric, 3532 N. Comotara
“When the weather’s bad, we’re still here, in either extreme hot or cold,” said Bob Hill, chief financial officer.
Most common issue: Furnaces failing and pipes freezing
Biggest challenge: “There are two: For office people to get here and for all of our service technicians out on the roads. In this weather, it’s a challenge to get them where they need to be in a timely and safe manner.”
Indian Hills Hardware, 2439 W. 13th St.
“Any time there’s inclement weather, I feel it’s the mission of the neighborhood hardware store to be open to service the needs of the community,” said Wayne Butterfield, general manager. “With severely icy roads, I must weigh the safety of employees against the needs of the community. It’s very rare for us not to remain open during our published hours.”
Most popular items: Ice Melt, shovels and sleds
Biggest challenge: “Ice Melt is a challenge for us to keep in stock. It’s in high demand because it’s a safety issue. Apartment complexes, businesses must have Ice Melt down for protection of customers and residents. It occupies a lot of space, so being able to have enough on hand is a challenge.”
Espresso To Go Go, 102 N. St. Francis
“We just feel like our hours are our hours and luckily we have four-wheel drive,” said Ann Tandoc, who owns the coffee shop with her husband, Warren.
Most popular item on cold winter days: Velvet Thunder, which is made from espresso, raw sugar and steamed half-and-half
Biggest challenge: “It’s much slower than usual but we have some intrepid regulars who come our way no matter what.”