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Snowy winter proves to be good for some businesses

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 2:29 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - While winter weather can make for treacherous travel and hard work with a shovel, some businesses thrive when a lot of snow falls from the sky.

So far this winter, Eppley Airfield has measured 40.2 inches of snow - that’s more than 3 feet.

Some have taken it in stride, and others are reaping the benefits, like Richard Messina who owns Play it Again Sports near 84th and Center.

He tells 6 News he sold through a lot of their winter gear, including a wall of sleds that sold out.

A section of his store was full of skis - cross country and downhill - as well as snowboards, snowshoes, and winter athletic coats. Thursday morning, there wasn’t much left.

“We sold through probably 100 pairs of skates in the week between Christmas and New Year’s,” said Messina. “And even the skis and snowboards were going earlier because even if they’re not skiing here, they might be traveling to Colorado and it’s a lot cheaper to buy them here than to rent them out there.”

Messina’s store sells new and used items. He says he buys skis in June and July and stores them until winter.

“This year they went fast. We even brought in a decent selection of skis from a resort so they were used and sold at a great discount, and all we have is 2 pairs left,” he said, chuckling.

Messina attributes the uptick in sales to two things.

“Obviously with the weather this year as well as people just wanting to be outdoors,” he said.

Play it Again Sports also recently added 2 golf simulators to its store. Those have brought in big business this winter, too.

“They’re getting booked often. The golfers are passionate and love to keep playing and practicing.”

Another new addition is Center Field, an indoor training center used by teams and athletes who want to keep practicing during the winter.

Another booming business is Hitchcock Nature Center’s snowshoeing rentals.

Kate Simmons, with Community Relations Coordinator with Pottawattamie County Conservation, says winter is usually a quiet time at the nature center, but that hasn’t been the case this year.

“This is our biggest year so far. The good snow cover has really been a boon for that,” said Simmons.

Compared to last year, Hitchcock Nature Center has seen a 30% increase in the number of snowshoe rentals, and families are making the most of the snow in other ways, too, like winter hiking, sledding, and ice fishing.

”It’s really great to see more visitors coming out and enjoying the snow, enjoying the parks, getting fresh air, getting exercise, it’s been really nice,” said Simmons.

You can find more information on snowshoe rentals and other winter recreation information on the Hitchcock Nature Center website.

Fontenelle Forest also rents out snowshoes. They, too, have seen an increase in rentals this winter.

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