Snow business is back, but for how long? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Snow business is back, but for how long?


Many of us enjoyed the warm winter while it lasted. But some business owners are welcoming the recent snowfall. Plow drivers are making up for lost time and money this weekend, cleaning up after the season's first significant snow.

Saturday afternoon, Cory Coleman's crew was clearing what was left from Thursday's storm at a Cedar Falls parking lot.

"They're not really happy until the lots look like it's July," he joked.

It looked more like July the last time we met with Coleman. A few days before Christmas, he was waiting patiently, or not so patiently, for the weather to change..

"It's now, just wandering around looking for things to do because we have everything caught up. It's usually like -- we'll get to that later, it's not a huge issue. But even all of those are taken care of!" he told us on December 21, 2011.

Coleman eventually decided to go with the flow.

"We really started taking off with the landscaping projects, offering deals and specials to get that part of the business going," he said.

Finally, this week, the weather turned in his favor.

"Wednesday, before the snow, we were actually doing landscaping projects, installing an egress window. By Wednesday night we were plowing snow," Coleman said.

Coleman was concerned about getting his new employees trained this late in the season. But he says this really was the perfect storm. It came on slowly, and the wind kept things blowing.

"We worked quite a bit longer with a storm that only dumped five inches. We worked as long as a storm that would have dumped twelve inches," said Coleman.

They're happy to finally be back in the plowing business. However it's going to take a lot more than five inches of white to keep Coleman's company in the black.

"I put a lot of money into it this year. And we're a long ways from getting it back. We would need probably about four or five more storms like the last one to break even at this point," he explained.

Frankly, Coleman is not holding out a lot of hope.

"I'm still not convinced we're going to have a winter. So we're going to focus on the landscaping. Hopefully that keeps us busy. If it starts snowing, we'll use that to stay busy, and we'll have the other stuff on the books come spring," he said.

Coleman invested in 70 tons of salt this winter, and said, usually, by this time of year he'd be debating whether or not to buy more. Instead, he's expecting to keep a good bulk of it in long-term storage until next winter.

"It's something you deal with," said Coleman. "Gotta be prepared for the best and the worst."

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