Snowpocalypse of 2018

“Snowpocalypse” is defined according to dictionary.com  as a major winter storm which shuts down a city or town and brings about some overreactions as a results of the impending storm.

We are coming up on the anniversary of this “Snowpocalyse” here in our hometown. It is still very fresh in our brains I must say even today as hardware retailers. What a huge event for our town, an early December snow, totaling 16-18 inches in our county- depending on where you live!!!! This was huge!!!! We rarely can total this much snowfall all winter long!!!!  So let’s set the stage a little bit and travel back in time to recall some of this “Snowpocalyse in December of 2018”.

Monday December 3rd arrived like any other Monday- it was truck day. The guys were unloading merchandise from our main vendor supplier and preparing for the week… I’m busy at school (this is before I retired)… there were some rumblings of a possible snow storm that could break later in week…. It was business as usual.

At dinner on Monday evening,  Richard reported that we were busy with a “flurry of activity ” ⛄️ and people seemed to be preparing for winter weather early. That is always a good sign as a retailer, you want your community to have what they need before a storm hits, not in the midst of a storm, and dealing with aftermath after the fact.

By Wednesday Richard and I were in deep conversation about several items:

  1. We were seriously running out of major items that we need in order to service our customers heating needs- we need to order more heaters, ice melt, lamp oil, shovels, the list was long… we decided to place an order with a company which we use that will ship quickly, and more merchandise would be in store by Friday morning, people were buying and planning for a big winter storm!

2. I was in constant communication with my brother in law in Charleston, SC concerning the weather. By the way, he works for the National Weather Service in Charleston, he does not forecast for our local area, but he can definitely tell us what could transpire with the weather in our area with definite certainty. I trust his skills as a professional. He is quite amazing as well as my sister, what can I say, I am very blessed with great family:)  We were getting regular updates from him as well as the local weather stations. It was coming together as a major storm. As a hardware retailer, storm prep is always on your mind, and how to balance your inventory needs vs demand of the consumer- (how much do I really need???)

3. Sales were heavy and people were definite snow prep mode!

4. If the storm hits on Saturday evening/Sunday like the projections, what would this do to our truck coming on Monday with all the other items we have ordered??? What would we do then if the truck could not get through our area???? We would be without essentials needed for an extended time????

5. “Snowpocalyse”is coming…..????

Thursday evening came and we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the much needed extra merchandise on Friday morning.

Friday Morning:

School was in session for me, & we discussed the potential snowfall. We looked at the forecast for our area, our class have completed a huge weather unit in 7th grade science earlier in the year. It was not unusual for us to discuss weather. Of course, the kids knew that I had been talking to my brother in law, and they seriously wanted the scoop on his thoughts too! Our discussions turned to potential final snowfall totals- the guesses ranged from 4 inches all the way up to 20 inches!!! We all laughed at those really high totals. These kiddos have never really seen that much snow at once in their lifetime. Never did I think that we would be close on the higher end of the potential totals!!!! (“Snowpocalyse” )?????

Richard on the other hand was extremely busy!!!! The local television station had called early in the morning and asked if they could come up for an interview. The tv crew arrived as the truckload of supplies were being unloaded. Literally, people were buying things as they were coming off the truck!!! The phone was ringing off the hook all day!!! It was so busy all day long!!! We were extremely grateful for the extra load of supplies but now the worry of not getting the truck on Monday was starting to set in. We were still needing a few key items. Richard completed the tv interview, they told him it would air later that night on the news. I was able to catch it during the 6:00pm newscast. He did an absolute fabulous job!!! I was so proud of him!!!!

We decided to go out to dinner that evening and the phone calls started coming in as we came back home…… Friends were calling Richard from other parts of the US- “hey, man I just saw you on the weather channel”. Evidently, a clip of his interview was picked up for national news!!! WOW!!!! We had friends who called from Las Vegas, & NY, who saw him on tv that evening.

Local weather forecasts predict at least a foot of ⛄️ snow!!!!

Saturday Morning:

Richard was at the store as usual, my routine was to finish my morning walk and then head into the store for the day. The storm was not going to set in until later in the day. On my morning walk, I suddenly received a call from Richard. He reported that a news clip of our store had just appeared on the Today Show! What on Earth!!!! We had made the national news for storm preparation for this upcoming “Snowpocalyse” !!!! AMAZING!!!  The day was full of talk and discussion of his appearance on the local/national news but, mostly folks were still winter storm prepping. Some folks thought it would amount to nothing, others were preparing for the “Snowpocalyse” .

By Sunday morning  December 9th, it was snowing like crazy. Richard and I were excited to see the snowfall. It had been several years since we had this much snow, and it was still coming down very fast. We went by to check on things at the hardware store around 10:00 am and I measured at least 14 inches and it was still snowing hard!!!! Yes, it was true, “Snowpocalyse”  had come to our hometown. It did take a few days for things to get back to normal. This is not normal amounts of snowfall for us here in Wilkes. There was so much snow, lots of it was dumped in Memorial Park parking lot so that the town could clear the streets. It took weeks for that “huge mountain of snow” to disappear!!!! It literally was a mountain of brown yucky snow!!!

By the way, our truck did roll through on that Monday, it was later than usual delivery time. We were extremely shocked and surprised that they were able to make it through, but very thankful. We survived the “”Snowpocalyse” , and learned that sometimes we think we have “nailed it” and are prepared for everything but then, things change- like the weather and we must adjust quickly and react to help those who need it.  This early December storm is still in our minds as Richard and I plan for weekly shipments/truck. Our discussions are always about being prepared and a having a healthy stock balance- it is truly hard to gauge… you can’t plan for a “Snowpocalyse”…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Days⛄️

Last week brought to us in Wilkes, the anticipation of snow. What we did not realize at that time was the impact of the coming winter storm. When in conversation with my brother in law, who works for the National Weather Service, he used the words “Epic Snow Storm” , and “this will a Storm people would talk about for years to come… ” I began to let the impact of this storm to settle into my mind. Preparation would be key. Richard & I began to evaluate our current winter weather supplies & those items that were blowing off the shelves early in the week.

Customers flooded into Wilkes County Hardware beginning about Tuesday of last week in preparation of the upcoming winter storm, daily sales had increased.

Knowing the storm was going to settle into our area by the weekend, we had already processed the timeline of our regularly scheduled truck shipment… it would not be here until after the storm had passed😳. The real possibility of the truck not showing up on our regular delivery day was looming in our minds as well, if the “Epic winter storm” was as bad as my brother in law had said it could be.

These are the worries of local merchants… planning for unpredictable weather and its impact on how you do business each & everyday. Mother Nature is unpredictable.. you can’t always plan for these types of events, but keeping a close eye on your inventory is key during peak weather months.

Richard was evaluating our store stock/supplies daily and we realized quickly that we needed a “stock boost” to get us through the storm. Richard & I talked back and forth about how much of each item we might need, trying to not overbuy for this event, which would tie up inventory dollars. So we submitted an order to our local supplier and another truck arrived Friday.

Once that shipment showed up, people were buying items off the truck immediately! The news of the winter weather was becoming evident to most people… they were planning for a huge storm.

Wilkes was predicted to be in the heaviest snow zones- at least 12 inches or more!!! Our hardware store was slammed with customers on Friday and Saturday!

Our local news station, WXII, called on Friday morning saying they were planning to stop by our store. Richard gave them a great interview and made it on the local news Friday night. I was so tickled to see him represent our store so beautifully.

The sweetness of my husband showed as he spoke about “our store”. (Even though I am not there everyday, and I hold another full time job as a teacher.)

He made sure to tell the local news crew that he was not the sole owner of Wilkes County Hardware. Sometimes it is the simple things that make you appreciate & love your spouse- after 20 plus years of marriage.

After the store closed Friday evening, we decided to make our winter storm preparations complete by filling up the car with gas, last trip to grocery store, etc. Richard’s phone began to message in from lots of people who saw him on the news.

What we didn’t expect was the range of our local impact would be! He heard from friends across the US who were seeing him on local broadcasts across the nation. Evidently the Weather Channel picked up a segment of his interview. By Saturday morning, our store front was on the Today Show in a brief segment on the upcoming storm!!

This news arrived to me as I was out walking on the Greenway, with my friend, when Richard called me to say we had made it on the Today Show! I was blown away. Here we were just carrying on with our routines, of a normal Saturday … he was already at work & I was to be there to help at the store, after I had finished my morning walk.

As customers came in all day Saturday, the conversation around the warm wood stove was of course the coming snow storm , Christmas shopping, and Richard’s tv appearances.

The guys helped every customer, each with their own unique needs. Demand had been so intense all week, that we were now out of stock in some items. So our staff made recommendations to those customers who needed help finding the items they still needed for winter storm prep.

Saturday was an awesome day, not because it was a great selling day, but the closeness of our community. We saw so many of our loyal customers arrive with flashlights 🔦 that needed batteries or bulbs, & requests of last minute items for storm prep. Our staff worked to make each a every customer happy.

What a great community we live in!!! We had cookies 🍪 delivered to us, and great friends brought in lunch snacks!!! Richard & I are definitely blessed beyond measure.

It was so awesome to see our friends & customers gather at the wood stove for conversation and smiles. This is why I love snow days!! ⛄️❄️

(By the way, we received over 15 inches of snow here Saturday night/Sunday!) Yes, in my book, it was an “Epic Storm” for us in Wilkes County Hardware History.