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Sales slump for lack of bad weather

Snow removal businesses are also seeing a lack of activity, but since their contracts are set in place prior to the winter months, their loss isn't a complete financial fiasco. Still, after warm winters in previous years, clients are looking to cut a deal for this year's service.

"We have re-negotiated our contracts this year, but people always have to be ready for winter conditions," said Max Stafford, owner of AAA Pump Sales and Service in Schenectady, which also supplies snow removal, shoveling and salting services. "Senior citizens especially have to have a contractor ready to dig them out."

Stafford said he has stocked far less rock salt to sprinkle on icy walkways, but the salt is easily available on an as-needed basis, and his regular staff of two could quickly be augmented with a third person should a blizzard hit. But for now, his emergency snow removal service has melted into nonexistence, and so he is leaning on his other business offerings to stay busy.

"We also do sump pumps, and we're relying on them right now for business," said Stafford.

The lack of snow has also hit suppliers of winter recreation equipment.

Snowmobilers need a good coating of snow for their sport; on grassy land, they turn instead to ATV's.

At Phibbs' Power Sports in Colonie, once a factory-authorized dealer of Arctic Cat snowmobiles, they're not even stocking the Cats any longer. "We have Yamahas, but snowmobile sales have been flat the last three years," said Jeff Blair, a sales rep at the sports store. "This global warming is affecting snowmobile sales nationwide. People are very reluctant to buy anything."

Just as school kids are hoping to wake up to a snow day from school, people in business relying on a good old-fashioned winter wonderland are keeping their fingers crossed, waiting for those flurries to fly. "What we need is for a good Northeaster to be predicted and everyone to rush in for snow equipment," said Emerich.

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