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Blizzard Alivia a boom for some Grand Forks businesses

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Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway maintenance crew members Justin Gierszewski (right) and Ken Siebels stock up on shovels Tuesday afternoon at Home of Economy with the help of cashier Stacey Slominski. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)2 / 4
Justin Gierszewski lines up his shovels Tuesday at Home of Economy after ringing them up to get to the other supplies at the bottom of the cart. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)3 / 4
A few scoop shovels wait on the shelf at Home of Economy on Tuesday afternoon in Grand Forks. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)4 / 4

Some Grand Forks residents apparently were caught unprepared by the snowstorm that hit Tuesday.

"Everybody who's leaving (the store) has a shovel," said Scott Pearson, CEO of Home of Economy. "We've had a couple of years without a really significant winter, so a lot of people have been here for a while, but maybe their boots wore out."

Home of Economy was one Grand Forks firm that saw storm-related business Tuesday. Snow removal firms such as Quality Lawn Care and Snow Removal and Lawn King were busy digging out residences and parking lots around town.

"It was probably at least a 12-hour day for them," Elly Morrison, co-owner of Quality Lawn Care, said Tuesday morning. "And then they have to come back at 6 p.m. and do it all over again."

Morrison said the business has had sanding jobs already this year, but the snow that started falling Monday night provided the first major storm this year.

"For this one to be the first one, it's pretty impressive," she said.

No travel was advised in much of the region and snowfall prompted closures of city offices, businesses, interstates and other services Tuesday.

But businesses such as Lawn King, which advertises residential and commercial snow removal services, were as busy as ever. Operations Manager Andy Horge said Tuesday workers were on their "emergency route."

"We go through our route quickly, and then we sleep for two hours," he said. "We go back through, sleep for two hours (and repeat), until the storm's over."

Over at Badman Design, owner David Badman shoveled away the snow from the entrance of his downtown Grand Forks shop ahead of its 29th annual holiday open house.

"It's always the first Tuesday in December," he said. "It's in stone."

Badman said the shop usually fills with customers after 4 p.m., so he was waiting Tuesday morning to see how the storm would affect traffic. The open house helps mark the start of the holiday season, he added.

"Retail is pretty strong about needing to keep their doors open this time of year," Badman said.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

(701) 255-5607
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