BREWER, Maine — Customers who pulled into the Brewer Aubuchon Hardware store Monday morning after the storm had to navigate around snowbanks taller than their cars.
Once they were in the door, they were faced with an even bigger dilemma: shovels or scoops?
In Brewer, at least, the scoops had it.
“That’s what everyone wants,” said Paul Webb, the assistant manager, of the tool that allows for more directional — and less back-intensive — snow removal.
Whether scoops or shovels, winter’s first major snowstorm was a boon to area hardware stores.
Brent Hopkins, manager of Broadway Hardware in Bangor, said he had done a brisk business in shovels, scoops and roof rakes since the store’s 7:30 a.m. opening.
“This is a good way to round out the year,” he said. “I hope we get another one soon.”
In Southwest Harbor, where the power was out until 10 a.m., staff at McEachern & Hutchins sold shovels Monday morning the old-fashioned way, with the help of flashlights and battery-operated adding machines.
“We’ve sold a gazillion shovels,” said Greg Dow, an employee of the store. “We were selling without lights. We have a generator, but it’s not hooked up.”
Linwood White Jr., co-owner of Park’s Hardware in downtown Orono, said Monday morning that everyone was “still hibernating.”
“Everybody’s digging out after the storm,” he said.
The storm was well-timed, he said.
“Yesterday was the first official day of winter, so it’s only appropriate,” White said.
In Houlton, which got more than 2 feet of snow, Scott Dionne of the S.W. Collins Co. said he opened the store at 7 a.m., even though the snow had drifted waist-deep around the door. Business was slow around midday, and Dionne speculated that was because customers were still shoveling and plowing.
“We’re just starting to get some familiar faces in,” he said.
Mike Tasca, who works at Paradis True Value Hardware in Bar Harbor, said business had been busy since the store opened at 8 a.m. Monday, and that he had sold about 30 shovels in four hours.
“We always prepare for this around here,” he said. “It is beautiful [outside], but it’s a lot of work.”
Sheldon Hartstone, owner of Fairmount True Value Hardware in Bangor, said he had sold a steady stream of shovels and roof rakes Monday — and now he has his eye on selling sleds.
“If the snow stays, on Wednesday you’ll find the kids out sledding,” he said.