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Shoppers make weather purchases

January 11, 2011

Everyone knows winter preparedness is critical before, during and
after a winter storm strikes.

This week's snow and ice was the second major storm of this winter but Catawba County residents continue to purchase emergency items and services needed in light of adverse weather conditions.

According to the National Weather Service, people should compile emergency preparedness kits to use during winter storm events.

The NWS says these kits should include the following items:

-A flashlight and extra batteries.

-Battery-powered weather radio and portable radio to receive emergency information

-Extra food and water. High-energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration are best.

-Extra medicine and baby items.

-First-aid supplies.

-Heating fuel. Fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a severe winter storm.

-Emergency heating source, such as a fireplace, wood stove or space heater. Learn to use the device properly to prevent a fire and be sure to have proper ventilation.

-Fire extinguisher and smoke detector. Test your units regularly to ensure they are working properly.

Area store owners said they notice an increase in shoppers immediately
before a winter storm event.

At Honey's IGA in Newton, employees started preparing for an increase in shoppers days before the storm hit.

Store Manager Cotton Young said the store had its milk delivered Sunday instead of Monday in anticipation of customers wanting to purchase milk, which is one of the most commonly bought items during winter weather.
Other popular items include milk and bottled water.

"Really, they buy everything," Young said. "They just buy loads of groceries. It's really hard to single anything out."

Honey's IGA closed early Monday night to allow employees time to return home, but the store opened Tuesday at 8 a.m., which is it's regular schedule.

"We still have some traffic," Young said of customers continuing to shop during winter weather. "It's not like it was this weekend, but business is still pretty decent."

Emergency preparedness shopping continues at hardware stores throughout the county. Conover Hardware store manager Penny Corpening said she commonly hears two questions from customers trying to prepare for winter weather: Do you have ice melt? and Do you have a snow shovel?

Customers want to clear their sidewalks and driveways from snow, but Corpening said it's not all about hard work during a winter storm.

Many people come into Conover Hardware looking for sleds.

"Everybody wants to get out and enjoy the snow," she said.

The store sells five different types of sleds with various sizes and shapes.

"When we look at the forecast and we see snow is coming, we look forward and stock up." Corpening said. "If you need a shovel, you need it now."

Travel experts advise motorists to do routine maintenance on their vehicles in advance of winter weather.

Junior Blackburn, of Redline Automotive in Newton, said that's not always the case.

"I guess it's because of the economy, but people just (fix) what they have to," he said.

Blackburn said Redline doesn't traditionally experience an increase in winter-weather maintenance requests before a winter storm. Redline, however, could experience an increase in customers once the winter storm passed.

Blackburn said winter weather could create problems in vehicles, causing more people to bring their vehicles into the shop.

To comment on this story, visit www.observernewsonline.com.

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