Reporting Bill Hudson
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and 25th Street in Minneapolis, Craig Arndt and his snow removal crew did something Monday they’ve done very little of this winter- clear sidewalks of snow.
Arndt didn’t expect this winter would be so mild.
“Once again the saying is: It’s Minnesota, you never know what’s gonna happen,” Arndt said.
Like many snow removal companies, Arndt’s business largely contracts with customers for the season. But many companies will also count on getting more business as the season goes along and the snow piles up.
By this time last year, Arndt and his crews had already moved more than 50 inches of snow, roughly five times the current snowfall in the Twin Cities.
“Anything is good, because we have enough accounts and contracts to keep going either way,” Arndt said. “It’s not as profitable as last year, but the small snow helps.”
The same holds true at Minneapolis’ Wirth Park. Crews there welcome the natural snow, which is seen as a needed supplement for man-made snow. The park’s ski trails and sliding hill are open thanks to the recent cold nights, when crews made snow for skis and sleds. Still, it’s the perception of winter that tends to attract customers.
Outdoor retailers like Hoigaards in St. Louis Park see a spike in sales when the snowflakes fall. Todd Brewer, the president of Hoigaards, said that anytime there is even have a threat of snow, customers get excited about winter.
Brewer saw that excitement first-hand Monday. Sales of winter apparel, skis and boots are brisk from fall to spring, but the store sees an uptick in business when the weather outside is more true to the season.
“It seems like no matter how bad the winter is, there’s always snow at some point,” Brewer said. “We’ve just got to wait for it to show up, and now it seems like it’s here.”
That news gives guys like Pascual Luna, a snow remover, something both to shovel and shout about.
When asked if he was making money with the snowfall, Luna laughed and said, “Oh yea…of course!”