Snow, ice leave a mark on local businesses

Shovels, sleds and hot chocolate have been among the top sellers

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Rosie Lutz, an employee and former co-owner of Lutz Hardware in Camas, assists a customer with the purchase of a snow shovel. Sleds and ice melt have also been selling well, during the inclement weather.

It has been an unusual winter, with area residents and companies contending with several days of snow and ice.

Bill Lavin, co-owner of Washougal Hardware with his wife, Dawn, said business was very good when freight arrived, then bad when it ran out.

Recent top sellers included sleds, snow shovels, ice melt, faucet covers, and other home and automotive weatherization products.

“Typically we buy shovels, and they last [in the store] four or five years,” Lavin said.

Two employees made it to work Jan. 11, after snow fell the previous night.

“Morning business has kind of gone away,” Lavin said. “People are not getting out, but it gets busier at 10 [a.m.].

“I let employees go home before it got dark,” he added.

Regular winter hours at Washougal Hardware, 1822 Main St., are Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Becky Anderson and her five children appreciated receiving a free sled from Lavin, Jan. 12.

The sled, with a slight crack in it, had been returned by a customer.

Anderson used some tape to fix it.

Lavin is anticipating a very good spring.

“People will be ready to get out in their yards and do their gardening,” he said. “People have been trapped inside all winter. There is damage from the weather and a lot of cleaning up to be done.”

Aaron Lutz, owner of Lutz Hardware in downtown Camas, said it has been hectic during the recent inclement weather.

That included selling 23 pallets of ice melt in three weeks.

“We received 200 phone calls Wednesday [Jan. 11] before 10:30 a.m., for sleds, shovels and ice melt,” Lutz said.

That day, he drove to Woodburn, Oregon, to pick up sleds and shovels.

“It was a four-hour round trip,” Lutz said. “It was terrible.

“We sold 80 sleds in two hours,” he added.

People have also been buying new parts for busted pipes.

Lutz’s father, Barry Lutz, drove to Woodburn Jan. 12, to pick up more sleds and shovels.

Aaron Lutz’s mother, Rosie, also helps customers at the store that she and Barry used to own.

Lutz Hardware, 505 N.E. Fourth Ave., has maintained its regular daily hours of being open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The store was staffed by three people Jan. 11, and Aaron brought two employees to work the following day.

Customers arrived by various methods of transportation, including all-terrain vehicles.

Marsha Dilley, co-owner of “A” Your Town Chimney Inc., in Washougal, with her husband, Dan, said the fireplace and stove shop has been open regular hours during the inclement weather.

“Customers have been coming in for small items and scheduling service calls,” she said. “Dan hasn’t been able to get out to do service calls or installs. He has been rearranging his schedule to try and fit everyone back in without a big wait.

“Most of our customers live in the country, and if they can’t get out we can’t get in,” Dilley added. “They have been very understanding.”

“A” Your Town Chimney Inc., 2126 “E” St., is open Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

LuLu Suchinda, owner of Lulu’s Boutique, said it was definitely slower and much quieter in downtown Washougal during the recent snow and ice.

Her shop was closed Jan. 11, but she drove from her Camas home to ship an online order.

The next day, the boutique was open regular hours.

“This snow storm has really impacted my business,” Suchinda said. “There’s less foot traffic. I’m hoping the weather will warm up, and the kids will be back at school again soon.

“I am trying to stay positive, but in December I also had to close a few days because of the snow,” she added. “I’m looking forward to spring.”

Lulu’s Boutique, 1887 Main St., Ste. “C,” is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The employees of Caffe Piccolo have been serving a lot of hot chocolate and mochas, according to owner Jodi Vaughan.

“Customers were happy we were open, especially yesterday and Sunday” she said Jan. 12. “They commented about how cold it was outside and how beautiful it is down here.

“Northeast Fourth Avenue was a sheet of ice, and there was snow on the trees,” Vaughan added.

Some customers wore clamps on their shoes, to provide a steadier walking experience.

Vaughan noticed more children and families visiting downtown Camas when the local schools were closed.

Overall, the inclement weather caused a decrease in the number of frequent customers, including teachers.

The coffee shop was closed Jan. 9, due to snow and ice.

Caffe Piccolo, 400 N.E. Fourth Ave., is open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A Beer at A Time experienced an increase in pizza sales, according to owner Shelby Piersol.

The pub also sells chicken wings and draft beer on tap.

It was open Jan. 11 until its regular closing time of 10 p.m.

A Beer at A Time, 216 N.E. Third Ave., Camas, is open for the winter Sunday, from noon to 9 p.m., Monday, from 2 to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, from 2 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from noon to midnight.

“We typically are open during these [snow and ice] events, because most of our employees live within walking distance of our pub,” Piersol said. “A little snow won’t stop us from serving our friends and customers.

“They arrived by car and foot,” she added. “Most of the seats by our front windows were full, because they are excellent people and snow watching seats.”