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Powerful Winter Storm Causes Shipping Delays

Published February 2, 2011

DALLAS, TX (BRAIN)—Instead of Big D, this week Dallas should be called the Big Ice.

“At least the two teams that are here are used to this kind of weather,” said Hans Johnsen’s Steve Mattil, jokingly referring to the Super Bowl participants Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers who square off against each other on Sunday.

UPS didn’t even pick up on Tuesday the weather was so bad with treacherous ice, Mattil said. “We got a call from our UPS guy and he said, ‘I’ve been at UPS 25 years and this is the first time I’ve known UPS to totally shut down,’” Mattil said. “The one carrier that did pick up said, ‘We’re just taking it to the dock. We’re not going anywhere afterwards.’”

Mattil said most of his dealer friends north of Dallas in Oklahoma and Missouri weren’t open earlier this week because of the brutal winter storm that slammed a third of the United States with snow and ice. The atrocious weather has led to thousands of flight cancellations and power outages across much of the country.

Other distributors like Maine’s Downeast Bicycle were feeling the effects of this harsh winter snap as well.

“UPS isn't running today, which pretty much shuts down shipping, and most of the common carriers are off the road so no receiving either, but we aren't shipping much at this time of the year so it isn't really a big deal,” said Downeast’s Jeff Cavicchi. “The storm died down a lot quicker than expected for us. We got maybe 8 inches of snow.”

A thousand miles down the coast in South Carolina The Hawley Company dodged winter’s bullet this time.

“This storm is not affecting us as much as the storm that hit the south and east coast the second week of January,” Steve Hawley said. “A large area of the south was iced over for a week and this hurt our January business a good bit. UPS shut down for only one day, but when the shops are closed, we're not getting much business.

“Locally, we're not having any issues with shipping, but we've seen a definite drop off in business from Chicago to Boston with our accounts,” Hawley added. “Business is not very brisk at this time of the year regardless, but we can still tell that a major storm has blown through.”

Clark Selz, owner of Armitage Bike Shop in Chicago, spent four hours shoveling snow in front of his shop yesterday. He was closed yesterday and said it was unlikely he would open for business today either. "The back parking lot is filled with snow and there's no way I'm digging it out," he said, adding that it's the most snow he's seen in eight years in business.

He said the blizzard comes on the heels of heavy rain and flooding in July that forced him to close for four days during the height of the season. However, snow at this time of year will have less impact on sales. "Winter is always slow, it's expected," Selz said.

Chicago-based SRAM reported that only three employees made it into the office yesterday due to the inclement weather.

—Jason Norman

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