Small businesses cash in on bad winter - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Small businesses cash in on bad winter

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While the colder temperatures and big snow events this winter season have been a headache for many, some small businesses have been cashing in.

With countless calls of busted pipes in the area, the costly season did wonders for a few companies' bottom dollar.

Neil Ingram said Mother Nature may have been Integrity Restoration's best friend this winter.

"We've done a little over half of our year's volume in about five weeks flat," he said.

But numbers like that weren't easy to pull off. The restoration company's crews were responding to one home emergency after another during freezing temperatures.

"At one point we were sleeping in the building, running about 100 hours a week," Ingram said. "It was the only way you could keep up."

The calls of busted pipes were coming in nonstop. Ingram said age didn't matter -- they were cleaning up old and new buildings alike.

"We had frozen pipes we couldn't even believe," he said. "They were in insulated areas and they still ended up busted."

Hardware stores saw a big spike in sales, too. Just ask East Ridge Do It Best Hardware's Jake Yoder.

"It was packed," Yoder said while standing in the plumbing aisle. "Professionals were tied up, and a lot of folks had to do their own work."

The storms helped boost the store's sales an extra 50 percent, said Yoder. He said some customers were frantically trying to save their pipes.

"You just couldn't believe the folks that came in," he said, adding that most customers asked for faucet covers.

While the snow is gone and most of the clean-up is complete, it's a headache homeowners won't soon forget.

"There's a double-edged sword here," Ingram said. "It's good for us, but unfortunately it's bad for the customers."

The winter was also expensive for the city of Chattanooga. Public Works officials reported spending $286,000 on more than 8,300 tons of salt and sand during 2014's two winter storms.

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