Snow throwers selling fast |

Snow throwers selling fast

Susan Wood and Kathryn Reed, Tahoe Daily Tribune

After 16 years of marriage, Marilyn Howard was lamenting Monday at Shehadi Motors over having to talk to her husband, Francis.

It had been more than three days since the couple lost power to their home off Sierra Pines Road, and the television is missed. The two were shopping for a generator to return to the modern conveniences of life.

“We’ve exhausted our conversation,” she said.

The Howards joined the surge in customers buying generators and snowblowers at the South Lake Tahoe Toyota dealership.

The place was a hotbed of activity Monday morning. Workers were clearing the lot of snow and assembling blowers in a flurry.

“I just got thrown into this,” transmission specialist Marc Hollar said. He and mechanic Eric R. Griffin hunkered down in the back building to add accessories such as shoot adjustments and washers.

Griffin estimated the two men could tackle 10 blowers a day.

Owner Mark Shehadi projected he would sell half the 145 snowblowers received at the beginning of the season by nightfall. A dozen went out the door by 10 a.m.

Ken’s Tire Center reported a surge in chain and snow tire sales — something they say is typical with the first big storm.

“The people who could not get out of their driveway were coming in (Monday),” Mark Lilly of Lilly’s Tire Service said. “A lot of chains are going out.”

People were coming into his shop wanting tires instantly. Lilly was doing his best to get snow tires and studs on vehicles, despite half his crew unable to make it to work because they live in the Carson Valley.

It was so busy that people were having a difficult time navigating his parking lot, and poor visibility caused some people to play bumper cars.

It was touch and go whether Albertsons in South Lake Tahoe was going to get its nightly delivery of goods. On the truck coming from Vacaville were 2,000 cases of groceries.

Assistant Manager Paul Redmond said he was talking all afternoon with the warehouse to decide if the delivery would arrive. He was told the driver would have chains on board if conditions on Highway 50 warranted putting them on.

Redmond figured if the truck did arrive his crew would be working long hours. If it didn’t get here, there will be bare spots on shelves today.

Store policy forced Albertson’s to close its doors from 6:30-11 a.m. Monday when the power went out.

“We’ve been swamped ever since,” Redmond said. “We are cranking. The lines are backed up. This doesn’t usually happen in the early afternoon. People were buying the basics — soup, milk, bread and beer.”

The goods sold Monday at Kmart in South Lake Tahoe were less conventional.

“Everything is flying out of here. People are buying two and three shovels. We’ve sold 150 men’s bibs this morning,” Assistant Manager Diane Silva said Monday.

The most popular items were the bibs, shovels and ice melt used to throw on the ground so people don’t slip and fall.

She does not fear the shelves will be empty even though the delivery truck out of the Reno/Sparks area was not able to make it up here Monday. This time of year Kmart gets deliveries every day. When it isn’t the holiday season trucks come up three times a week.

Winter items are well-stocked. It’s things like aspirin that might be in short supply if the trucks are unable to roll for consecutive days.

Business as usual was the order of the day at the Round Hill Safeway, according to store Manager Dave Rouse.

“Wood has been going pretty good because there is no power behind us,” he said. Duraflame was gobbled up by customers looking for warmth.

Like Albertsons, Rouse’s store was without power Monday from 6:30-10:30 a.m., but stayed open with the aid of a generator.

All delivery trucks have been able to make it to the store.

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