Warm Winter Blues for Some Shops

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Some small business owners say this mild winter is freezing them out of a profit. Hardware stores anticipating a harsh winter like last year stocked up on winter weather items like shovels and sleds — only to have those item sit on the shelf in what has thus far been a mild winter weather.

Tanya Manello, manager of A and M Hardware in Accord, New York, said she hasn't sold any rock salt for ice pavement or wood pellets for heating.

She said she can't afford to lose the revenue. "If it comes to the end of the winter and I have 20-ton of wood pellets left because it wasn't very cold, which it hasn't been I need a place to put all of these and at almost $300 a ton that's a lot of money to be tying up too."

Manello said rock salt and wood pellets need to be stored indoors in an airtight area to prevent moisture, which is hard to do for a small business. She also said it makes no sense for her to liquidate her stock at the beginning of spring.

All may not be lost. The National Weather Service said the warm weather is a result of a la Nina phenomenon caused by lower than normal temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Forecasters predict seasonably cold weather, and possibly snow, should reach us by mid January.