Sales up due to ice storm

Wes Franklin

Ice storms.

They’re an inconvenience. They cost people a substantial sum of money occasionally. They can even be dangerous.

But for some business owners — like George Busteed, proprietor of True Value Hardware in Neosho — a little icy weather can admittedly be good for the bottom line.

Since Sunday’s frozen rain fell from the sky onto Neosho and the Four-State area, and even before, Busteed said the inventory has been moving right off the shelf. It’s the typical stuff one would think of — lamp oil, kerosene, wicks, flashlights, batteries, fire starters, propane, generator connectors, space heaters, gas cans and just about anything else associated with the hassle of living with no regular electricity. 

Several months worth of store items sold off in a day or two. It’s kind of a financial shot in the arm.

“Well, you know, unfortunately (considering the circumstances), as long as we’ve got the stuff people need it’s kinda nice to have it in stock,” Busteed said. “So as long as we’ve got the stuff, we keep selling.”

When the torrents of ice wreaked havoc and destruction last January, Busteed said his store lost power for only a couple of days, but when it reopened the shelves were emptied in a big hurry. He sold out of just about every emergency item he had in stock. That’s why after that experience he put together an “emergency list” of key necessities people would need if and when another ice storm arrived. So even before Sunday, a large back stock was already waiting.

But by Monday afternoon, he was already running low. Pointing to mostly empty shelves of gas cans, Busteed said they had been fully stocked just a short time before. An end cap of fire starters was looking pretty shabby too. The lamp oil was gone by Saturday, in fact, as Neosho residents buckled down for the possibility of another January disaster.

However, Busteed said he already had trucks coming in that night from Kansas City, carrying extra stock of pretty much everything that was check-marked and reordered on his emergency list.

“We’re just trying to stay ahead of it and make sure we don’t run out this year,” he said. 

Neosho Daily News