Winter-related economy picks up after recent storm that moved across the region
WILLMAR -- Nobody really likes digging out from under a foot of snow, but for some people the Christmas storm was just what their businesses needed.
In west central Minnesota, snow fell off and on from Wednesday through Saturday of Christmas week. In the end, many areas measured more than a foot of the white stuff, and it interfered with many Christmas plans.
Fred Overman, the manager at Ed's Small Engine in Willmar, said his shop has been busy with snow blower sales and repairs to older machines since before the storm hit.
The storm was predicted days before it hit, so the shop, with repairs done by three full-time workers and one part-time employee, was busy last week as people prepared for it, Overman said.
With the after-storm repairs, the shop is busy enough that "we're probably a week or week and a half out," he added.
As for sales, "we completely sold out the Saturday after Christmas," he said. Another dozen machines were ordered on Dec. 28, and several customers are waiting to take a look at them when they arrive.
"The whole state of the economy benefits from a storm like this," Overman said. "It does a lot of good."
It doesn't just benefit a business like Ed's that sells new snow blowers and repairs older ones. A big snowfall also helps people who clear snow from parking lots or who sell winter-related merchandise, whether it's snowmobiles, shovels or coats.
Some recent winters have had little snow and haven't been good for weather-dependent businesses, Overman said, so many of them, along with winter sports enthusiasts, celebrate a hefty snowfall.