For many, the recent winter storms gripping the area have brought poor driving conditions, closed schools, canceled events and many other inconveniences that must be borne until the weather warms up.
However, for some entrepreneurs, the snow represents economic opportunity as they climb into their vehicles equipped with plows and scoops. Each time a significant snowfall occurs, these people are busy throughout the community, plowing and removing snow from driveways, parking lots, and other private areas. Without them, it would be much more difficult to conduct business during winter.
While public roads are plowed and maintained by local municipalities and state agencies, businesses and residents must often rely on a private snow removal service to keep parking lots and other large sections of land clear. Some rely on small private contractors who perform the service as a sideline. Others use a business which offers snow plowing as one of its many services.
One such business belongs to Robert Shupp of Factoryville. Although its primary services are black topping, line painting and sealant, Shupp does a brisk business in the winter when it snows.
“I have 34 customers,’ explained Shupp on Friday. “We go out every time it snows.”
Some of Shupp’s customers include Remington’s, the Downtown Deli, and the plaza where the Hoagie Hut in Tunkhannock is located.
“I’ve been plowing for 20 years,” Shupp said.
Shupp has three plows, and each time a winter storm hits, he and two of his employees are busy clearing the snow off various lots.
The money Shupp makes from plowing helps offset his other business activities such as blacktopping which are considerably reduced during the winter months.
“We’re not eating Ramen noodles,” he said.
Shupp said he has been working in the sealant business since he was 12 years old.
“I wanted to make money since I was a kid,” he explained.
Some plowing services operating in the area are much more specialized.
Scott Schneible and Jerry Catalano are operators for F&T Landscaping of Peckville, and were busy on Friday, plowing Walmart’s parking lot in Eaton Township.
“We’ve been here since 6 a.m.,” Schneible explained Friday afternoon.
For Schneible and Catalano, clearing the lot is an all-day job.
“We have to work around vehicles. We can’t clear it if there’s a car sitting on it,” Scheible explained.
Depending on how bad the weather is, the two will spend up to 30 hours clearing the lot, using a backhoe and a plow.
Also busy on Friday was Scott Edwards an employee of Supreme Landscape Management. Edwards was just finishing up from plowing for seven customers.
“We have 25 customers, and sometimes it can get pretty busy, particularly when the weather turns nasty,” he said.
Owner of Supreme Landscape Management Bill Ball said that he’s been providing plowing to his customers for the past 25 years.
“I just needed something to compensate for the winter months,” he explained.
Ball said he has five people, including himself, clear such areas as the Tractor Supply plaza, as well as the parking lots of the First National Bank and People’s Bank.
“We go all around town,” he said.
As expected, how busy Ball and his crew are during the winter depends on the amount of snow that falls.
Asked about the blizzard which hit the area last year, Ball replied: “It kept us busy for about three days.”