Sales begin to pile up as the snow falls

WILLMAR -- While Willmar mostly avoided the latest snowstorm to hit Minnesota, what is on the ground is causing area businesses who deal in winter toys and tools to see some extra green late in December.The snowmobile and snow blower season start...

Jamie Gilliland Motor Sports
Technician Jamie Gilliland performs the steps required for a safety recall Tuesday on a 2015 Polaris Switchback at Motor Sports of Willmar. (GARY MILLER | TRIBUNE)

WILLMAR - While Willmar mostly avoided the latest snowstorm to hit Minnesota, what is on the ground is causing area businesses who deal in winter toys and tools to see some extra green late in December.
The snowmobile and snow blower season started out slow for businesses in Willmar, such as Motor Sports of Willmar, Tool-Yard and Runnings, but in the past week, all have seen an uptick in customer traffic and sales.
“It’s been really busy,” said Josh Kjos, who works in sales at Motor Sports.
The most die-hard riders will take their machines out as soon as a dusting falls on the ground, Kjos said, however more are interested now that it really looks like a winter wonderland. All-terrain vehicles are also popular, especially those that can accommodate attached snowplows.
“Business has been good recently,” Kjos said Tuesday.
Winter sales are on the rise at Tool-Yard, where they are selling an increased number of snowblowers and shovels, according to Business Manager Paul Kallevig
They are also starting to sell Bosch plows, another product line which relies on snowfall to be successful. Before this past week, sales in winter products had been slow.
“This past weekend we’ve moved snowblowers,” Kallevig said.
Runnings stores are also enjoying a rise in sales from winter’s arrival.
“We consider ourselves as a weather business,” said Dennis Jensen, marketing manager for Runnings. “It is certainly a positive impact to our business.”
Runnings sells a wide range of products geared toward winter, whether one is trying to move snow or stay warm.
“People shop us because they need things to survive winter,” such as shovels, snowblowers and ice melt, explained Jensen, but the store also sells products for the fun side of winter.
“We have toys to enjoy and get out in the white stuff,” including gear for ice fishing once the ice is strong enough, Jensen added.
New sales aren’t the only category welcoming a dose of snow. Both Motor Sports and Tool-Yard have seen increased visits to their service departments, where customers are bringing in machines in need of repair, or picking those up they dropped off before the snow arrived.
Winter sales are important for places such as Motor Sports, Tool-Yard and Runnings, even if it is not the make or break season for them. Motor Sports sells a lot of summer-fun vehicles such as personal watercraft and motorcycles. Kallevig said people always need lawn mowers when the warm weather arrives. However, all are glad the snow has started to fall.
“Winter is a very good time of the year for us,” Jensen said.

Motor Sports
There are different versions of the Polaris Sportsman such as the tracked 1,000 cc model on the left and the wheeled 850 cc model equipped with a plow blade. (GARY MILLER | TRIBUNE)

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email or direct 320-214-4373.

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