Mild Weather Causes Winter-Driven Businesses to Struggle

For families who depend on snow removal to pay their bills, this winter in New England has been rough

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The mild New England winter has been great for people who don't like the cold. But for families who depend on snow removal to pay their bills, it's been rough.

"Definitely a big income change when you're paying insurance and the trucks are not in use," said Rosana Nicolazzo, whose family operates a snow removal business in West Newton, Massachusetts.

At Swartz's Hardware, the warmer temperatures are making a difference as well by slowing the sale of traditional cold-weather items like shovels, ice melt and snowblowers.

"We still got four big guys out there and they're not cheap stuff but who's going to buy a snowblower if it's not snowing right now," asked Derek Smith.

Smith's family owns the hardware store in the Nonantum section of the city. Fortunately, the lack of harsh winter conditions is generating other sales.

Contractors are purchasing things typically bought in the spring and summer because their crews have been able to work outside in January.

"We're getting stuck with cold stuff but warm stuff is beginning to go. I was just asking now, 'when are we getting the seeds in,'" store clerk Brad Stearns said.

Most of the season's snow fell in December. That's why the winter is especially hard on people like Diane Coscione, her husband and their four children.

Coscione said their trucks haven't moved in weeks.

"All the bills just keep on coming and there's no money coming in," Coscione said. "All our savings that we saved from the summertime and the fall we use all through the winter."

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