Upstate New York gets ready for winter 'People started calling about first of September,' one merchant says

September 18, 1997|By ALBANY TIMES UNION

ALBANY, N.Y. - The autumnal equinox is still more than a week off, but some businesses here have been preparing for snow season for months.

While gardeners and golfers are enjoying the remaining days of summer, mechanics are preparing equipment for the tortures of winter, retailers are receiving and placing products, and administrators are sending snow-removal contracts out to bid and signing contractors for the season.

"We've got a sign up now, and people are starting to call for snowblower service," said Andy Bisognano, proprietor of Andy's Colonie Hardware. "Soon, the sign for storm window repair will go up. And late this month, we'll get the first delivery of salt and calcium, then shovels after that."

The store, which picks up and drops off blowers for service, sold a few during July and August and has its fall stock on hand, Bisognano said.

At Griffin Motorsports, a dealer in all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles in Schenectady, general manager Dan Macchiarella said accessories such as heavy winter coats and snow helmets are arriving daily and going onto the sales floor, while new snowmobiles are already on display.

"People started calling about the first of September," Macchiarella said. "It's 90 out, and you know the snow season's going on. Soon, we'll be coming in early just to get our work done and closing the door in the evening with a couple of customers still here. It really gets hectic."

One reason for the early interest in snowmobiles is that all four major manufacturers offer preseason discounts, Macchiarella said. The sales, like similar specials on skis, snowboards and even snowblowers, end by Oct. 1.

"It's kind of strange. For a lot of people, the season doesn't start until after Christmas, but two weeks later, I'm testing next year's stuff," said Darrell Karl, owner of High Adventure Ski and Bike in Latham. Karl said he orders carefully because ski retailers are "prisoners to the weather" and can be badly hurt if a warm or dry early season takes the edge off customers' enthusiasm.

Those whose idea of a beautiful winter day is one seen through a window from a seat by the fire may appreciate the preparedness of Matchless Stove & Chimney in Glenmont. The Matchless staff has been trained and certified for installing chimneys, wood stoves and fireplace inserts, said Tim Madden, Matchless president.

The company ordered stoves and fireplaces in March - building up inventory to more than 200 over the summer. Now it is replacing chimney brushes, vacuum filters and dropcloths for peak chimney cleaning season, which will begin within weeks and last until November, he said. "We're stocked and ready to go," Madden said.

Pub Date: 9/18/97

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