Snow gives local businesses a boost
Local businesses are rejoicing after a snowy December, giving tourists another reason to visit the North Shore and bring revenue to the community.
“People come and they stay and they eat and they buy gas … they do all of the things that help the local economy,” Two Harbors Area Chamber of Commerce president Gordy Anderson said. “With good trail conditions and a good amount of snow, that’s going to increase the amount of travelers and visitors.”
Scott Hull, owner of the Knotted Pine Inn & Tavern in Isabella, said they had about two-and-a-half feet of snow on the ground after the early December 72-hour storm. The snow has just continued since then. He said customers are already calling to book cabins for snowmobiling trips now that they know there will be plenty of snow on the ground.
“The week after Christmas is already starting to book,” Hull said. “It’s an earlier start by three weeks for sure.”
Two men from Duluth took advantage of the fresh powder as soon as possible, jumping on their snowmobiles just after the first snowstorm of the season and riding all the way to the Knotted Pine. Though the snowmobile trails weren’t all groomed and the temperatures were around the zero-degree mark, the two men made it, Hull said. Early season guests are a welcome treat for Knotted Pine.
“Any income before Christmas is gravy,” Hull said.
Local groomers are using caution, as heavy grooming equipment can sink if the snow isn’t packed down. After the heavy snow, many trails were scattered with fallen trees and branches, but volunteers worked hard to prepare the paths for snowmobilers and cross-country skiers.
“We’re doing quite a bit of marketing in the metro area for snowmobiling and … cross-country skiing and we got a lot of publicity on TV last week with all the snow we got,” Anderson said. “We’re already starting to feel the requests for trail maps. I’m seriously anticipating a good winter.”
Locals have been keeping shops busy, buying up shovels, snow blowers and parts for cars and snow plows. Sterling Auto Parts employee Terri Stuberud said that starters and batteries have been flying off the shelves along with salt and deicer.
“We’ve been waiting for the cold snap,” said Stuberud, who has worked at the store for six years. She said customers are “out and about, and they are in here.”
Anderson said that, although the snow can be an inconvenience, it’s a big boost for local businesses.
“If you don’t mind shoveling a little snow, it’s all good for the economy,” Anderson said.