SNOW BUSINESS: McDowell prepares for coming storm

Spencer’s Ace Hardware filling, by their estimates, 3,000 daily gallons of propane to customers preparing for the storm. (DUSTIN CHANDLER/MCDOWELL NEWS)

As the winter storm approached, local businesses saw a substantial growth in customers needing propane, food, and winter essentials.

Jack Corson, store manager of Spencer’s Ace Hardware on Rutherford Road, said the store sold out of kerosene heaters by Thursday morning and sent many generators out the door.

“Propane’s been growing strong for about two and a half days now,” said Corson. “We’ve got one or two guys down there helping fill up. So it’s been hard to keep up. A lot of things that people buy when they see the storm coming or the possibility of being without power, they want to get one of the small propane cylinders and get their kerosene heaters right. We’ve probably repaired about upwards of 20 for people. We try to prioritize those.”

According to Corson, the store has been selling at least 3,000 gallons of propane per day since Thursday.

Behind the store as employees helped fill tanks, Shane Kirkpatrick of Nebo, standing by with a 100-pound tank to fill for his mother, said his plan thus far for the winter storm has been standard.

“No more than usual,” said Kirkpatrick. “For Mom, I’m pretty much making sure she’s taken care of; we’ve got 4-wheel drive to move around, but other than that, we’re not doing anything much different than before.”

Two miles east at JB’s Galaxy on East Court Street, store manager Becky Dove said on Friday business on her end has been “way above normal,” with purchases up 10 to 14 percent for the average Wednesday and Thursday.

“As soon as the first snowflake comes down, it’s going to get busier,” said Dove.

Among the items purchases within the last several days have been the standard storm food products – milk, bread, eggs – including selling out of bananas.

“We’ve doubled our milk and bread order and we still have water, but bananas are a big favorite,” said Dove. “The first day, we sold 30 sleds – that was on Wednesday. We sold all of our snow shovels, all of our driveway melt and salt, but we’re expecting another delivery Saturday morning.”

Dove also said double the employees have come in to assist with customers.

One such consumer, McDowell resident Dawn Johnson, said she had been purchasing cat food, stuff from the pharmacy, bread, crackers, soup and water.

“The essentials,” Johnson said, having shopped between JB’s and Walmart.

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