Climate good at many of the region’s hardware stores

By Katherine Landergan
Globe Correspondent / January 28, 2011

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The unusually high amount of snowfall in the past few weeks has resulted in messy roads, transit delays, and a lot of frustrated drivers, even for Massachusetts. But hardware stores are having a field day, recording big sales of everything from snowblowers to brushes to help residents combat the fierce winter.

“We are down to one snowblower right now,’’ said Ela Zielinska, assistant manager of the Home Depot in Natick.

“Roof rakes, we are still in stock,’’ Zielinska said. “I think we are the one store in our district that still has them. We have 20, but they will sell out quickly.’’

Zielinska said a shipment of snow-clearing items is expected today.

Yesterday morning, there were still a good number of shovels left, but she expected that would change within hours.

“Right now, we are in stock for shovels, but sales seem to be picking up now,’’ she said. “I think people were waiting for the roads to clear.’’

Joe Baroletti, manager of Economy True Value Hardware on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston, said that sales in the past few weeks have skyrocketed, but that he has been able to keep up with the demand because snow-related items are shipped weekly to the store.

Ice melt, shovels, and snow removal brushes are among the top sellers, along with space heaters and firewood, he said.

“We have quite a few people who come in and assume that we are sold out,’’ Baroletti said. “That’s the first thing they ask. I assume that a lot of other places in the area are sold out.’’

There is one item, however, that Baroletti cannot stay up to speed with.

“Last storm, we sold out of sleds,’’ he said. “We haven’t been able to get any more of those.’’

At Kelly’s True Value Hardware in Newburyport, this month has also been a selling bonanza.

“We have been continuously busy,’’ said owner Pete Kelly. “It’s a good thing for us in sales.’’

At Kelly’s, products that have to do with snow cannot seem to stay on the shelves.

Wood stove pellets are very popular this year, Kelly said, along with copper pipe to repair burst pipes.

The snow has been a boon, too, to at least one local ski area. Michael Ahern, a supervisor at Blue Hills ski area in Canton, said the slopes have been crowded.

“Well, we are doing great and fairly busy with school being off,’’ Ahern said. “The snow conditions are great.’’

But at the Wachusett Mountain ski area in Princeton, business is not doing as well, co-owner Carolyn Stimpson said.

“There are perfect snow conditions, and no one is on the slopes,’’ Stimpson said.

The mountain was at half capacity last weekend, she said, and on Tuesday night only 23 people came out.

“Now they are starting to come, with the temperatures up,’’ she said. “I’ve never seen such beautiful snow, such perfect conditions.’’

Landergan can be reached at