Mike Stiefel, the owner of Mike and Sons Snow Plowing LLC in Norwich, said his company's services have been booked since September.
“I’ve got clients at the end of July that start booking me,” Stiefel said.
Starting Friday night, a storm is expected to cover most of the state in snow. The National Weather Service expects there to be two to four inches of snow in the overnight hours, before the storm picks up on Saturday. The total snowfall in Eastern Connecticut could over a foot.
With that in mind, many people may want to stock up on snow supplies.
Stiefel said he’s already gotten 12 emergency calls as of Thursday.
As for how snowplow drivers are handling this weekend's storm, Michelle Algiere, a co-owner of Algiere’s Landscaping, LLC, in Griswold, said her trucks are all prepared. They’ll do the first pass after three inches, she said then “let Mother Nature take the lead” in how the response is.
Tips for hiring someone to clear your driveway
Stiefel recommends people book snow plows for the winter season ahead of time, perhaps as soon as the summer.
Algiere also said to make sure the people you hire to shovel or plow your property are insured, and have workers' compensation.
“We don’t want to make mistakes, but heaven forbid we have something go wrong, we want to make sure our clients are properly protected,” Algiere said.
As for those who are snowplowing for people as a side job, and who may not have insurance, Algiere said they should disclose their position.
“Make it very obvious, and put it on the person hiring you, because unfortunately, if something does go sideways, it would be on the homeowner,” Algiere said. “There’s risks in everything we do, so make wise decisions with your risk assessment.”
Do you need snow repellent?
For the do-it-yourself crowd, Sean Doran, manager at Ace Hardware of Norwich, said demand for snow products picked up at the store on Wednesday. He noticed there’s been demand for shovels, ice melt, snow blowers and even snow repellent.
“A lot of the plow guys like buying that because it makes it harder for the snow and ice to stick to it,” Doran said.
If there’s anything that‘s been hard to get a hold of, Doran said it’s been sleds and snow blowers.
“Basically, everything is on back-order in the warehouse and, to be honest, it’s getting to the time of the year we're really not sure if we're getting any more big storms anyway,” Doran said. “Unless somebody specifically is looking for one, I might not be bringing anymore in, because I don’t want to be sitting with them over the year.”
Philip Anthony, co-owner of Anthony’s Hardware Store in Griswold said he’s been selling plenty of roof rakes, shovels, rock salt and ice melt. Also starting on Wednesday, he had more and more people coming in for those items, to get ahead of the snow.
“So far, we’re not completely out of anything,” Anthony said.
Except generators, he said, selling the three he had in stock on Monday.
Shoveling advice and what to buy
In terms of what to buy, Anthony recommends paying a little more for quality items, rather than getting stuck with something that’s cheap and doesn’t work.
As for actually shoveling yourself, Anthony recommends using your knees and taking a little at a time when shoveling.
“Don’t try to take a large, two-foot deep snow shovel-worth each time,” Anthony said. “It’s much better to take your time.”
Stiefel also said people clearing their own snow shouldn’t wait until the end of the snow, and should start clearing when there are three or four inches on the ground.
“It’s a lot easier to clear three of four inches than trying to clear a foot of snow,” Stiefel said.
As for ice melt, Doran recommends getting something this weekend that works better than rock salt.
“Rock salt only works to a certain temperature, so it’s not always your best choice, even though it’s the cheapest,” Doran said.
When asked whether or not there will be more snow, Stiefel said he’s expecting there to be a few more storms in the season.
“It’s New England,” Stiefel said. “it could be warm temperatures up in the 40s one day, and now it's down to 20 degrees or subzero temperatures the next day.”
This article originally appeared on The Bulletin: Snow supplies still in stock as CT winter storm approaches