The driver of a semi making a delivery to the Clallam Co-Op gets a helping hand — and wheels from a local driver on Feb. 9. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

The driver of a semi making a delivery to the Clallam Co-Op gets a helping hand — and wheels from a local driver on Feb. 9. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Sequim businesses counter snow with shovels, optimism

Even with Sequim’s snowfall melting in many areas, residents continue to feel its presence as they shovel walkways, traverse slushy roadways and reopen businesses and schools.

More snow isn’t predicted in the lower elevations of the Sequim-Dungeness area in the next few days, but below freezing temperatures are expected to hit. During the daytime, snow mounds continue to melt but water may freeze across roadways at night.

Whatever comes next, Sequim residents say they are well-equipped.

Multiple Sequim retailers report locals wanted to stock up on snow supplies.

“It was pretty crazy,” said Dave Kunze, assistant store manager for the Clallam Co-Op. The store sold out of snow shovels three times in the past week totaling around 400 over the span, along with about eight pallets of ice melt.

“We’re fortunate that we saw this coming and stocked up before (the storm),” Kunze said.

A delivery truck was able to stop by as the storm hit that first weekend, he said, and after closing for two days due to weather they reopened on Monday, Feb. 11 and sold out of shovels within an hour, and again within an hour on Wednesday, Feb. 13, and within a few hours of opening on Saturday, Feb. 16.

Kunze expects even more snow shovels to arrive on Wednesday, Feb. 20, he said.

Ken Bearly, store manager for Coastal Farm & Ranch, shared a similar sentiment.

“Any shovel that can shovel snow, we sold out of,” he said. That included ice melt, too.

“We’ve been trying really hard to keep it all in stock,” Bearly said. “Getting trucks up here was the issue (during bad weather). The phones have been ringing off the hook.”

Local grocers saw runs on bread, fruits and vegetables, and other staples leading to some empty shelves for brief stints. Some grocers saw trapped vehicles sit in their lots for a few days as locals opted to wait it out or drive their pickup trucks for essentials.

US Postal Service and other package deliveries were delayed to many hard-to-reach areas leading residents to wait in long lines at the Sequim Post Office to pick up packages and undelivered mail.

As snow picked up over the last week, Sequim’s Les Schwab saw a steady stream of traffic, said Store Manager Ron Jones.

“The snow definitely gets us rocking pretty good,” he said.

The tires and brakes business remained open through the storm fronts, Jones said, and when it did snow it was even busier.

Les Schwab did run out of a few sizes of tires and chains briefly, Jones said, but they were able to mostly replenish within the next day.

Down but not out

Normally a prime region to swing a club during winter months, The Cedars at Dungeness golf course has been closed since winter storms hit more than two weeks ago.

Director of Golf/General Manager Bill Shea says the 16 days of closure (as of Feb. 19) is the longest stretch he’s seen since he moved to the area in 1997.

“There’s no set program (for the snow). It’s not like you can turn the sprinklers on and melt it; it’s really more of a waiting game,” Shea said.

“It’s a blessing to be in the rainshadow, but when you have snow and no rain it sticks around.”

While golf is on the proverbial shelf, The Cedars’ restaurant and bar only lost a couple of days and is up and running. Shea said he hopes golf isn’t too far behind.

“This last week has been a pretty good melt (so) we are hopeful to open by this weekend,” he said.

“There are a couple of greens that are clear so we’ll try to reroute (players), mix and match just to get them out.”

Sequim’s Moon Palace Chinese Cuisine reported on its Facebook page on Feb. 13 that tree branches broke off from the snow and damaged their kitchen’s hood fan causing them to close. Staff reported, however, that the restaurant reopened on Saturday, Feb. 16.

Local businesses like Dungeness Kids Co. and That Takes the Cake were featured in TV coverage of Sequim’s snow last week, too.

Sue Boucher, co-owner of That Takes the Cake, said her husband Paul shoveled for days around downtown businesses to clear snow.

“The main thing was to help customers and make sure they’re safe,” she said.

City of Sequim staff brought in an excavator on Friday, Feb. 15 and cleared some snow downtown to help businesses.

Boucher said this is her 33rd year in the cake business and “(the snow) was a big impact.” She estimates this year’s Valentine’s Day sales were about half of what they normally get due to the inclement weather.

However, Boucher said she remains positive.

“I’m very optimistic,” she said. “Customers continue to come in, and people who saw the news come in and buy something or stick their head in to say they saw us.”

Efforts continue through Sequim to bring awareness to affected businesses and community members, such as a campaign to Shop Local/Love Local and the Post-Storm Donation Day to support local food banks.

On Feb. 18, Kunze said he spoke with a customer who had just left his home for the first time after a week and to do that he hired someone to help dig him out.

“People who are high up in areas like Palo Alto, it’s not melting there,” he said. “They’re still digging out.”

Bearly said with Coastal still being relatively new to the area, managers continue to find what’s exactly needed even with large snow events like this.

“Next year we’ll try and keep everything in stock,” he said.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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