It's going to be a week of subzero temperatures, deadly roads, and winds that feel like ice daggers in the face. Yet while students all over Minnesota have taken to Twitter to alternately flatter and threaten Gov. Mark Dayton for no-school days, some local businesses are reveling at the chance to reap unprecedented profits from historical chills.
The guys who are making light of the cold -- and big bucks -- on the dawn of Snowpocalypse II are your local auto shops, pizza delivery drivers, boot-makers, and babysitters (for the chosen school districts). Homegrown industrial giant Cargill has been working around the clock to fill salt storehouses in anticipation of brutal winter storms.
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"We began working weekends as far back as July, and that's pretty much unheard of," said Cargill spokesman Mark Klein. Demand for deicing salt skyrocketed this season because there was little left after last winter, and meteorologists predicted a replay in 2015.
Likewise, inventory shortages carried over from last winter coupled with the early onset of cold days this year are making Nokomis Shoes owner Steve Negaard very happy. "The demand was higher this winter than even the last because I think people knew in the back of their minds that stores were out of product, and they had to get on the ball early and prepare themselves."
Both Negaard's Minneapolis and Crystal stores saw a comfortable 25 percent increase in business, he says, due to record boot sales in November and a Christmas blowout that was off the charts. A warm December came with a slight dip in numbers, but he's tracking to be ahead in the new year.
And for Rollie Johnston at Steve's Tire & Auto, a drop in temperature comes with doubling of staff to deal with twice the business of replacing batteries and starters. As an ice-fisher and skier on top of being an autoshop manager, he says what most would consider bad weather is what he looks forward to all year.
"I love the winter. I'd rather have it be 5 degrees rather than 90 degrees out. But that's just me."
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