After slow start, York-area businesses prepare for snow

David Weissman

Brett Shoffner hasn't used his company's new snow plow yet, but that's likely to change this weekend.

Shoffner Construction owner Brett Shoffner stands with a newly acquired truck and plow at his Felton business Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Shoffner began his snow and ice management service last year and purchased this second truck last summer.

AccuWeather senior meteorologist Andy Mussoline said current forecasts project 8-12 inches for the weekend, but he cautioned people to keep checking because any change in the storm's path will have a major impact on the forecasts.

National Weather Service meteorologist Shane Kearns said it's still too early to get an accurate read on how much snow will fall, but their forecasts are showing a high amount of confidence that it will snow, likely beginning Friday evening or night and continuing into mid-Saturday morning.

Brad Sweitzer Sr., co-founder of Red Lion-based S&S Storm Chasing and Forecasting Team, said most of their forecasting models are showing 10 to 20 inches throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Sweitzer said there's plenty of time for those models to change, but they've shown "remarkable consistency" compared to what he's used to seeing this far out from potential snow storms. The consistency reminds Sweitzer of major storms in the area during 1993, he said.

Shoffner, owner of Felton-based Shoffner Construction, just branched out into the snow and ice-management business last winter and saw so much success that he invested in a second, bigger truck during the summer.

Shoffner Construction owner Brett Shoffner and his project manager Joe Miller, left, fill a plow mechanism with hydraulic fluid while preparing for the forecast snow this weekend.

Shoffner hasn't fielded any calls yet in preparation for the storm, but he said he's planning to work on the trucks Wednesday to make sure everything is greased up and working properly.

One company that has already begun seeing positive momentum in advance of the storm is York City's American Rock Salt, which sells bulk and bagged de-icing salt. Jackie Jordan, a spokeswoman for the company, said sales had been steady through most of the winter but have nearly doubled this week.

"It's just been a constant stream of our trucks getting sent out," she said.

Tom Beamenderfer, executive vice president at York Janitorial Supplies, said his company hasn't seen much recent uptick in sales of its ice melt products.

The West York company typically sells the majority of its ice melt products beginning in August, when customers get a better rate, Beamenderfer said.

York Janitorial was able to pre-sell more this year after customers had to order more during last year's snow-filled winter, he said.

Grocery store chains Giant Food Stores and Weis Markets are preparing for the potential storm by stocking up on items their customers will need if they're stuck in this weekend, according to company spokespeople.

"We watch the weather like hawks cause we know our customers are doing the same," Weis spokesman Dennis Curtin said. "We're sending extra shipments of bread, milk, eggs and everything really."

Curtin said the company is also preparing by scheduling more cashiers to deal with extra demand.

Giant spokeswoman Samantha Krepps said her company's stores will use past experiences when preparing for storms. Other items Giant customers tend to look for before snowstorms include nonperishable foods, rock salt, shovels, batteries, windshield wiper fluid, water and candles, she said.

While Shoffner is preparing his trucks and will be ready for any emergency service calls, he said his general contractor company, which mostly works on residential and commercial renovations, will be fine even if it doesn't snow.

Shoffner Construction owner Brett Shoffner makes an adjustment on a newly acquired snow plow Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, while preparing for the forecast snow this weekend.

"It's a nice service to provide and sometimes helps get us in the door with businesses that may need renovations," he said. "As far as (actual) snow plow business, it's just icing on the cake."

— Reach David Weissman at