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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

'Ice melt and snow shovels' order of the day at Headley

Thursday, December 27, 2012

(Photo)
Headley Hardware cashier Tessa Brenner rings up customer Andy Nichols' purchases Wednesday morning during the snowstorm that produced a blizzard warning for Putnam County. Nichols came into town from Fillmore to purchase a fan to help better disperse the warmth created by a portable heater at his home.
The snowiest day in several years produced predictable purchases and oddities alike Wednesday morning at Headley Hardware in Greencastle.

As the snow swirled outside and a pickup truck driver spun his wheels trying to negotiate the gentle grade from the parking lot to Indianapolis Road, customers inside were in search of winter necessities.

"Ice melt and snow shovels," offered Headley Hardware manager Greg Bennett. "We've also sold some sleds this morning."

Reporting business as "sporadic" at the time, Bennett said sales had been mainly "the same thing -- mostly snow shovels and ice melt."

"I hope we ordered enough snow shovels," he said, walking around the corner to the next aisle about 10 a.m. to note, "we've got nine snow shovels left."

Also popular was tube sand, which like it sounds, is literally sand in a tube-like plastic bag. Purchasers use it for added weight in the back of pickups or the trunks of rear-wheel-drive cars.

"And if you get stuck, then you open it and use the sand for traction," Bennett advised.

Larry Johnson of Joe Spiker Inc., Greencastle -- which takes care of snow removal on some of the biggest parking lots in the county, including Putnam County Hospital, Walmart, Putnam Plaza and others -- backed his truck in to load up seven skids of ice melt.

Quick calculations by Bennett and cashier Tessa Brenner determined that to be approximately 2,500 pounds of ice melt per skid or a total load of more than eight tons.

Tri-County Plumbing, which likewise clears local parking lots, had already been at Headley's to pick up ice melt about 6 a.m., Bennett said, adding that he had ice melt reserved for other snow removal companies as well along with a healthy amount for the general public to purchase.

(Photo)
Moving a skid of ice melt, Headley Hardware employee Nathan Guffey helps Larry Johnson of Joe Spiker Inc., Greencastle, load up the melting agent for use in snow removal-efforts at major parking lots across Putnam County.
The good news, he said, is that another load of snow melt was expected from Missouri on Thursday.

Some loyal Headley customers ventured out during the brunt of the storm to pick up some rather random items.

"Some guy came in this morning and got wire and outlets, electrical stuff," Bennett said, adding that another was looking for floor glue.

Someone else braved the blizzard to come after a picture hanger, Brenner interjected.

"I guess if you're going to be stuck indoors, you might as well be doing something constructive," Bennett rationalized.

About that time John Garl of Bike Shop fame wandered in, not for a snow shovel or ice melt, but for four screwdriver bits from one of the glass containers on the checkout counter. Grand total: $1.50.

"Must be for something his wife wanted him to do," Brenner, the perky cashier, suggested.

Someone else jokingly asked if Garl had ridden in on a bicycle.

"No," he responded, "but I can get you some studded bicycle snow tires" if a person's true desire is to pedal along in the snow and cold.

Right behind Garl came Andy Nichols of Fillmore, who braved snow-covered roadways in search of a small fan. Not because his house was too hot but because he wanted better distribution of the warmth a portable heater was creating at home.

The ice and snow certainly don't scare Nichols, who said he drove a tractor-trailer for 25 years and visited all 48 states at least twice.

Nichols bought a nine-inch oscillating fan to "blow the heat out further," he said. "I don't think the blower in that heater is working."

Besides loyal customers, Headley Hardware was replete with loyal employees as well, despite the weather.

Bennett himself wasn't even supposed to be working. "I'm on vacation," he smiled.

In coming to work on the day of Blizzard 2012, Bennett even dragged along daughter Jessie, who has been on Christmas break from Marian College, to help out at the store as well.

Then there's Brenner, the personable cashier who easily earns the gold star for the day.

Taking her son to the babysitter extra early just to be sure she could get to town safely and make it to work without getting stuck in the snow, Brenner then drove on in to Headley's.

Finding several contractors already waiting in the parking lot to pick up their snow melt, she went ahead and opened the store early to help accommodate those customers' needs.

"I wasn't going to let them just sit outside," she said, shrugging off compliments. "I figure if I was up, I might as well be working and making some money."



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