East Stroudsburg, Monroe County – Rock salt is becoming so scarce that people are crossing the border from New Jersey to try to find it in the Poconos. But they aren’t having much luck in the Poconos either.
Tom Smith hoped to snag a bag of rock salt before Thursday’s storm. He said, "I'm hoping Cramer’s has more. I don't know if they do or not."
Cramer’s Hardware Store in East Stroudsburg still had some snow salt spreaders, but no salt to put in them. Smith was one of dozens of people who discovered the store was all out. Salt suppliers across America have struggled to keep up with demand. Cramer’s manager David Parker said, "Everybody is buying it up and you just can't get it fast enough."
The Salt Institute Trade Group said there is no rock salt shortage but there is a bottleneck. It blamed an increase in demand combined with shipping problems on the Mississippi River and Great Lakes. Parker said, "We have a truckload ordered and coming out of Rochester but we just need to get a truck under it.”
Parker said there are some rock salt alternatives. If you have a gravel driveway you can use calcium chloride. On concrete you can use cinders or sand. "You could certainly use sand for anti-skid. It's not going to melt the ice but it will keep people from slipping on the ice,” he said.
With weeks of winter ahead it looks like the rock salt supply issues will continue. Smith said, "I guess we're gonna have to use what we have sparingly."
Cramer’s expects to get its rock salt shipment by the end of the week.