Snow blower sales, repairs ahead of major winter storm

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The forecast storm totals are too much for many of us to just tackle with a shovel.

It’s why hardware stores are especially busy selling and repairing snow blowers. It’s only been snowing a relatively short time in the Electric City with the lion’s share of accumulation still to come. And when it does, many of us will be using a snow blower or snow thrower, as some call it, which was recently purchased or repaired.

A starting engine is the sound of 77-year-old Dave Pica’s new baby — a 24 inch-wide snow blower he just bought from Scranton Grinder & Hardware.

“I always wanted a new one. I had one for about 20 years. It’s kind of wore out, so I got a new one,” said Pica.

“We’re starting to get low on most models,” said Bill Packer, service manager at Scranton Grinder & Hardware. “Larger snow throwers we have a lot of. But they’re going.”

While new snowblowers have been selling swiftly at this Electric City staple, it’s the snowblower repairs that’s really keeping the service staff busy here. Workers have fixed about 50 snowblowers in the last week… and counting.

“90 percent of our repairs are all fuel-related. Gas goes stale sitting in carburetors and if they haven’t been used in two years everybody is having the same issue,” said Packer.

That means rebuilding the carburetor on the older models or for 2015 and newer models, just replacing the carburetor with an inexpensive one. By midday Wednesday, Packer figures there were about 25 more customer snowblowers still needing to be repaired. But not Mr. Pica. He’s armed with a new snowblower and ready to do battle with a big snowfall.

“Well, we haven’t had any for a long time so it’s better than this corona. Maybe it will help. I don’t know,” said Packer.

Bill Packer says if you have a smaller snowblower, tackle the snow removal every several inches or so. Those bigger 24-inch models like Mr. Pica now has should be able to do the job with a couple of passes. He also says you may be able to avoid those snowblower carburetor repairs by starting up your snowblower once or twice a year, even if it’s in summer.

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