Extreme Winter Poses Challenges, Rewards for Mass. Businesses | NECN
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NECN Business

Extreme Winter Poses Challenges, Rewards for Mass. Businesses

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (NECN: Mike Cronin) - Wood pellets are in short supply but high demand at Bark Unlimited in Shrewsbury, Mass.

    "Last year, we sold approximately 250 tons. We've already sold over 650 tons this year," Owner Jeff Alcock says.

    Alcock only has a few bags left, which he's using to heat his home. While they've tripled sales this winter, he says getting pellets has been difficult.

    "Being such a cold winter and a lot of people buying stoves made a shortage for pellets," he says.

    Last month, they completely ran out of pellets. Alcock says they've had to limit customers to 20 bags per person.

    "On Monday of last week, we sold 960 bags in three hours," Alcock says.

    Winter has also been a busy season at nearby Ski Ward.

    "We've been making snow like gangbusters since the vacation week and right up until a couple of weeks ago," Jen Andersen, Ski Ward's general manager.

    Ski Ward opened in mid-November - the earliest opening date in mountain's 75 year history. With spring starting next week, Andersen says they're getting ready to close.

    "We're really happy with our conditions, the crowd levels, and this will be our last weekend of the season," she says.

    But cold doesn't help every business. Bar owner Michael Erlich is looking forward to opening his windows at the Perfect Game in Worcester.

    "When it's zero degrees, I think you want to go from your office to your car to your house and I don't think you want to stop and walk," Erlich says.

    He says winter has slowed business during the week, but weekends have remained busy. He says snow has played more of a factor than the cold.

    "Given the location on Water Street of Perfect Game and the lack of parking," Erlich says.

    As for Alcock, he's looking forward to mulch season, but says pellet season isn't over yet.

    "We had people coming as far away as Concord, N.H. and Providence, R.I., right up here to get our pellets or any pellets. They're just scarce," Alcock says.