Spring snow takes bite out of garden business

MONTICELLO, Minnesota (KARE) – Maybe we should just call it “Spring-ter.”

“It’s kind of right in between, no one knows which way to go yet,” says Roger Denne, a manager at Grady’s Ace Hardware in Monticello, Minnesota.

Owner Shawn Grady has other words for this seasonal state of limbo.

“Yeah, slowest time of the year,” he says.

Seeds and sleds, Tiki torches and shovels sit side-by-side on Grady’s shelves.

“You can see a little bit of both seasons yet,” laughs Denne. No one is buying much of either.

The last thing Grady’s needs is another spring like last year, when snow was still falling in May. “Our fertilizer sales were down last year about 30 percent over the year before, just because of the late spring,” says Grady.

Last year’s late snows caused some customers to simply skip early season lawn fertilizing,” according to Grady, who carried a large fertilizer inventory into the off season.

Sweeping off his car in a nearby parking lot, Mark Abraham understands the psychology. “Too early to be buying that fertilizer,” he says. “You know you get all those seed catalogs and it gets the old juices flowing, and then this comes.”

“That’s just lost revenue,” says Grady. “So the longer this drags on the less revenue you’ll have from spring goods.”

Roger Harwarth took an opposing stance. As the flakes started to fall, he loaded a new lawnmower into the truck of his car. “Today’s the day to buy it,” he said confidently.

Harwarth bought the mower at Grady’s, on sale, no waiting. He might even get the chance to use it… in June.

“The grass will be growing one of these days,” laughed Harwarth.

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