The dusting of snow that covered Kent County Friday may not have been much compared to years past but the winter weather provided a boost in sales of between 25 to 50 percent amongst greater Dover's grocery and hardware stores.
Retail stores remained as tightlipped as ever about actual sales figures, but they said the wintry weather gave a general boost to sales.
Sales at Safeway in Dover Crossing shopping center off South Little Creek Road were up roughly 25 percent on Friday, Store Manager Mike Holthaus said. That made up for the drop off on Monday, when people were staying indoors due to the dreary, wintry mix of precipitation, he said.
"On Friday, it was a major increase," Holthaus said. "We had an ample supply [of groceries]. We didn't run out of anything, but we sold more than we anticipated. [Monday was] slow. It's like the weather had the opposite effect."
Just up U.S. Route 13, sales were steady but not much higher than normal in the Dover Kmart's grocery department, Kmart Merchandise Manager Mike Duncan said.
"It's not like they were clearing the shelves of water and bread" Duncan said. "But, Friday was not a problem. Saturday was pretty slow. I think the cold and windy weather kept people home."
Rommel's Ace Home Center off Independence Boulevard in Dover faired a little better due to the snow. Ace owner Mike Cottingham said he had a stellar retail day thanks to the snowfall, however scant.
"On Friday, sales were over double the same day prior year, and customer count was up over 50 percent," Cottingham said. "Customers were buying a variety of heaters – including kerosene, infrared and ceramic. Ice melt, wood pellets, ice scrapers and firewood bundles were also big sellers."
Redner's Market, which has stores in Cheswold and Milford and two more on the way, also saw an impact from the inclement weather, Redner's spokesman Eric White said. But he did not have specific percentage increases immediately available.
"Typically we will see a bump in sales of milk, bread, eggs, water and hardware such a shovels & rock salt," White said.
For competitive reasons, Lowe's declined to comment about impact of weather on sales, corporate spokeswoman Karen Cobb said.
"But I can tell you that rock salt and shovels were popular items in the stores over the weekend," she said.
Walmart spokeswoman Ashley Hardie also declined to comment. Walmart only releases sales and earnings on a quarterly basis, she said. The next sales figures would not be available until February.