Businesses list their hot ticket items during the winter storm season

Published on February 13, 2017

Duane MacDonald, manager of Callbeck’s Home Hardware Building Centre, in front of the store’s winter prep display.


What do chips, salt, shovels and batteries all have in common?

A P.E.I. snowstorm of course; and the list of supplies Islanders stock up on can be lengthy at times.

“My go-to is the classic storm chips. They’re my number 1. You can’t have a storm without those,” said Pam Smallman, manager of Atlantic Superstore Summerside.

“The heavy hitters are any kind of grab-and-go food. People like the pre-made pizzas, wings, and the salad bar because people are probably thinking about the power outages and what kind food they can have in the house that’s ready to go.

“Milk is always going off the shelf and the bakery department always has a good go before a storm.

“People like to have treats during a storm because, I mean, the food you eat during a storm doesn’t count right?” she said with a chuckle.

Smallman continued, “Your cookies, your cakes and pies, as well as pop, you know the sweets that people don’t always buy with their everyday groceries. Water is always a big one too. You never want to run out.”

But the food doesn’t stop there.

“The frozen section is always pretty busy with people grabbing pizzas and things like that. I find that in a snowstorm we all want comfort food, the sweety-treaty stuff that isn’t always on our list.”

Household supplies are also popular commodities when the snow starts to fall.

“Salt and windshield washer fluid always goes like crazy, and shovels can be hard to keep in stock. Batteries are a big seller too. I guess the storm list is pretty long actually.”

People like to have treats during a storm because, I mean, the food you eat during a storm doesn’t count right? Pam Smallman, manager of Atlantic Supertstore Summerside

Looking around Callbeck’s Home Hardware Building Centre, store manager Duane MacDonald can pick out a few key items that Islanders always grab before a storm.

“Sand and salt are always our big sellers. There’s also ice scrapers and snow shovels that go as well.

“Snow blowers also become popular, and depending on the fear of power outages, people buy kerosene, oil lamps and fluid as well as batteries.”

It’s usually just the necessities, said MacDonald.

“We never have any really strange requests from customers. But depending on the severity of the storm, we can have all sorts of different shoppers.

“It’s always important to be prepared. You want to make sure you have batteries and flashlights, and if you have an outdoor exhaust system, make sure it’s cleared off so the heat keeps going,” MacDonald added.

Mark Smallwood, the manager of Kent in Summerside knows the old reliables are the products to go first.

“Definitely shovels and salt. They go fast,” he said.

“Usually after a power outage people tend to buy generators as well, just in case they end up losing power for days instead of a few hours.”

Once there is mention of a lot of snow, snowblowers become popular as well, he said.

“There seem to always be the staple items. We tend to see a rush in those kinds of things as winter continues and snow falls.”

Hot ticket items

– Storm chips

– Ready made meals and pizzas

– Water

– Batteries

– Shovels

– Salt

– Flashlights

– Snowblowers