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Preparing for the cold: Local businesses see different trends in winter readiness

BEMIDJI — As the winter cold creeps upon us, homeowners are preparing for the chilly months ahead.

That is the key term, preparation. And many in the Bemidji area are doing just that.

"Right now, people are buying window plastic," said Scott Carlson, assistant manager at Ace Hardware. "Weather proofing is something you want to do now, because you don’t want to be doing it when it’s 20 below."

Window tape is a big seller to keep warm air within the home, Carlson said.

"Winterizing your home is a big thing this time of year," he added.

Shovels and other items usually associated with winter don’t sell until the first snowfall, Carlson added.

Also selling well are efficiency heaters, or small portable heaters. These are good for smaller homes that need help with heat.

"Once that trend caught on, they’ve been big sellers since," Carlson said. "We sell a lot of these right before and during winter. They are pretty popular in the area."

The heaters are a hot item because they can reduce electricity costs in some homes.

Another big seller has been RV antifreeze. It provides winter protection for plumbing systems for RVs, boats and vacation homes.

"We’ve been selling a lot of it," Carlson said. "We have them on large pallets in the store. Right now, it’s probably our biggest seller."

For trailer homes, using heat tape can effectively insulate waterlines. It can keep a constant flow in hot water systems.

"You wrap it around insulation on your waterline," Carlson said.

"And it prevents the line from freezing during the winter months."

At L&M Fleet, the big items people are looking into in preparation are for stoves and fireplaces, according to store manager Greg Yanish.

People are coming in and looking for new or upgrades to fireplaces, smokestacks and chimney pipe. "That’s our biggest area right now, in heating," Yanish said. "They’re getting their (indoor heating) done before it gets cold."

People are planning on new stoves for their houses and they have to meet certain codes so insurance companies will be able to insure their homes, Yanish said.

It’s basically in the wood industry and preparing for the winter is where the trend seems to be, Yanish said.

They have a few people stocking up on wood pallets for their pallets stoves and chainsaws have also been a big seller.

"People are getting back into cutting wood since it cooled off. So, we saw a nice run on chainsaws," Yanish said.

"People are stocking cords of wood, log splitters have been really good in sales. That’s just planning ahead for the season."

While L&M has not seen a large influx in window plastic, Yanish said once the cold hits, things will change.

"When it hits below 50 degrees, it’s usually a mass rush to get our heating supplies," Yanish said.

So, now is a good time to be prepared for the wintery weather ahead.

Joe Froemming

Joe Froemming is a page designer for Forum Communications Co. You can read his blog at

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