Lack of snow hurting local businesses

While above normal temperatures and fewer heavy snowfalls has been a treat for many district residents this winter, it hasn’t been welcome for some local businesses that are praying the recent trend of milder winters will end soon.
Jim Badiuk, owner of Badiuk Equipment here, admitted Monday that the lack of snow definitely is affecting his business.
“Snowmobile sales aren’t as exciting as they were last year but we still did okay with them,” he said.
“It is hurting us,” he continued. “Our snowmobile services are down, and our snowmobile parts and accessories are down. We’re not selling as much clothing.
“We would have sold more snowmobiles if it would have been snowier.”
While the milder winter hasn’t meant record sales in snowmobiles, Badiuk said he’s noticed a shift in what people are purchasing.
“What it’s affecting is people are moving to buying outboards just dramatically earlier,” he explained. “Our farm machinery sales are up, too.
“People are looking at new tractors. For some reason, we’ve sold more new tractors this year than we have in the last couple of years.”
And with the recent spring-like temperatures, Badiuk said his ATV sales also are expected to rise in comparison to previous years.
A shift in sales from winter to summer equipment also seems to be the case at Pinewood Sports across the highway.
“Snowmobile sales are down but outboard sales are up,” said a store spokesman.
While people may not be buying as many snow shovels as in the past, the manager of the local Canadian Tire store said the warmer weather, for the most part, isn’t changing his bottom line.
“It’s been moderate. It’s been the same. We met sales from last year,” said Kevin Thiessen. “It has not affected it at all.
“Certainly [there were] less shovels being sold but I guess we’re selling something else,” he remarked.
One group that’s really been hurt by the trend of fewer snowfalls is the Sunset Country Snowmobile Club.
“Our membership dropped drastically,” said club president Rick Socholotuk. “It’s hard to sell permits when there’s no snow to put in trails.”
Socholotuk said the club, with its few members that have remained loyal despite the lack of snow, has spent this winter clearing trails of fallen trees. He said the hardest part of dealing with the lack of snow is that it seems to have become a trend.
“This is the third tough winter with no snow,” he said. “We’re trying to take it as it comes and do what we have to do.”
Meanwhile, Badiuk, who will be showcasing Bombardier recreational products, including 15 new 2003 Ski-doo snowmobiles, at the Red Dog Inn this coming Monday from noon-8 p.m., remains hopeful this will be the last of the snow-less winters—at least for a while.
“For many, many years, the trends were for deep snow so I think we have a cycle,” he reasoned. “Maybe this is the bottom of the cycle. I think in the next few years it’s going to get back to normal again.”