By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a beautiful day for rollerblading…in January?

But it’s not all fun and games when it comes to business.

“I checked weather for what’s coming up. I saw sunny and high 30s, and I said this is not good,” Mark Settergren said.

Settergren owns Settergren’s of Linden Hills. He says he’s missed out on tens of thousands of dollars this season from slow sales for shovels, salt, snow blowers — even bird seed.

“We rely on snow in so many ways in this state for our economy. People don’t really understand all of that,” Settergren said.

He’s right. Winter accounts for nearly a quarter of all tourism in the state, according to the U of M Tourism Center. That includes snowmobiling, which contributes nearly $130 million to local economies.

“Usually the snowiest month of the year is January. We average around 12 inches for January, and we’ve only gotten a trace so far,” WCCO meteorologist Lisa Meadows said.

When there’s no snow to plow, contractors that do plowing or ice dam removal lose work.

“Mother nature is a huge driving impact on my business at least all mother nature driven,” Chad Erickson, owner of Total Home Exteriors said.

Settergren says he’s lucky his store also sells paint to keep sales going, but he’s hoping to see more white on the ground soon.

Does this mean we will have a dry winter all together? Not necessarily. If you remember last year, January also got off to a slow start with snow. But how did the season end? With a record setting snowstorm — in April.

Kate Raddatz

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