There’s no business like snow business
‘It’s boring when there’s no snow,’ happy plow company owner says
As snow falls steadily across the city, many companies are experiencing a flurry of customers.
The city awoke to lots of fresh snow Thursday and was expected to see an additional 15 to 25 centimetres fall throughout the day, says Environment Canada’s snowfall warning.
For snowplow companies, that meant an extra-early wake-up to take on a long winter day. About 2 a.m. Thursday, 10 snowplows from Centretown Road Service hit the streets, said the company’s owner Yves LeBlanc.
“Everybody’s out ... we will work until the snow starts slowing down later this afternoon, then head back out at night,” he said.
“It’s more fun when we have something to push,” said LeBlanc, referring to last December, when only about eight centimetres of snow fell for the entire month and none after Dec. 10, said Environment Canada.
More snow means more business, said Kent Peddie, owner of Precision Snow Removal in Ottawa.
“We’ve been getting about 15 to 20 calls a day for new contracts since last week’s snowstorm,” he said.
All 25 of his snowplows were on the roads Thursday, primarily clearing residential areas across the city for about 2,000 clients, he said.
But LeBlanc said big snowfalls are challenging to plan for as plows and other snow removal services, such as snowblowers, must return to the same spots throughout the day as fresh snow covers the work done earlier.
The Centretown snowplow company would return to the same downtown parking lots, and some residential driveways, as often as four times on Thursday, said LeBlanc.
He said his company was plowing for about 150 clients.
Although most contracts are arranged with snowplow companies in advance, LeBlanc and other local companies said there is room for new clients, especially as the city turns into a winter wonderland. “It’s boring when there’s no snow,” said LeBlanc.
This past week’s snowstorms have also boosted other Ottawa-area businesses that rely on the wintry weather for customers.
Bob Sudermann, who co-owns Camp Fortune and Mont Ste. Marie ski resorts, said the heavy snowfall has been good for the ski business. In just the past week, he said, more than 90 centimetres of fresh snow has fallen on both sites.
Thursday alone brought more than 15 centimetres of all-natural powder to the resorts.
But Ottawa hasn’t always been a snow-lover’s paradise.
Sudermann said he couldn’t open either resort until mid-December last year because of the dry weather.
“Last year was the absolute worst Christmas ever,” Sudermann said.
This year, they opened in November.
Snow inspires people to get out and enjoy winter, said Chris White, owner of Trailhead Paddle Shack.
“Once people see winter, they need winter,” White said. He said Thursday’s snow boosted sales of hats, skis and mittens. Ski and snowshoe rentals were also popular as people prepared to head out to play.
Kellie Scrim, a Westboro resident, said she exercises regularly during winter; she was shopping for a new hat and warm clothing “for extra motivation” to run outdoors and ski.