Weather driving equipment sales

ELKINS – This week’s polar temperatures have caused a spike in sales of many cold weather items, ranging from coats and space heaters to car batteries and wiper blades, officials said.

Elkins K-Mart reports increased sales of winter apparel including hats, gloves and jackets. The store has also seen a run on space heaters.

“We have sold more heaters,” Glen Sycafoose, the store’s hard lines manager, said. “We have sold them today (Tuesday) and yesterday.”

Hardware stores are also experiencing more demand for winter items.

Brenda Jackson, manager of Trickett’s Hardware Store in Elkins, said, “We have seen an increase in cold weather equipment sales in the last two days.”

Higher-selling items at Trickett’s include supplies to fix water lines, electrical heaters, insulation and heat tape. Heat tape is wrapped around pipes prior to, or during, cold weather to keep them from freezing. Above average sales of ice remover and shovels have also been reported.

Cold weather equipment for cars is also selling briskly, including batteries, wiper blades, dry gas and antifreeze.

Dorothy Stone, a commercial sales manager for AutoZone in Elkins, said, “We have gone through a lot of antifreeze.”

Advanced Auto Parts in Elkins also reported spikes in sales of these items.

Store Manager Tom Wetzel said, “Batteries, antifreeze and wiper blades have seen a huge increase. Anti-gel for diesel fuel and spray de-icer have also seen an increase.”

The cold weather has already taken its toll on some vehicles. Towing companies are reporting an influx of calls in the past two days.

“There has been a pretty good increase over normal,” said Todd Wamsley, Colonial Court Service Station manager. “We have had a couple trucks out all day yesterday and most of the day today (Tuesday).”

Wamsley said the calls vary between people getting stuck and “no-starts” that need jump started.

“We do jump starts and tows, we do whatever people need,” Wamsley added.

K&K Collision and Towing has also been extra busy this week. Owner Kevin Tingler said, “We have seen more in the Snowshoe area and on back roads, more breakdowns than wrecks.”

Tingler urges people to keep their vehicles in a garage if possible or to use an engine block heater. An engine block heater can be plugged in and helps keep your engine and oil warm when the vehicle isn’t running. This allows your vehicle to start easier and keeps the oil from becoming too thick and causing damage to your motor.