London

London hardware stores shaken by salt shortage

Want salt? Good luck. With freezing rain prompting a run on road salt at local hardware stores and more precipitation in the forecast.

Freezing rain has prompted a run on road salt in London

Rob Borshell of Tuckey Home Hardware says the store has sold skids and skids of salt in a matter of days. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

In the wake of recent freezing rain spells that shuttered schools and led health officials to promote penguin-walking, local hardware stores say road salt is selling like hotcakes.

At Tuckey Home Hardware in Wortley Village, about 'three to four' skids' worth of salt have flown off the shelves just since Friday, according to customer service representative Rob Borshell.

"I came in today and it's all gone," Borshell said Tuesday afternoon. "We're hoping to get more in in the next few days, but it seems like it's a hot commodity right now."

The salt situation isn't quite so dire at Copp's Buildall of London, but buyer Dave Vaclavek said he too has noticed a run on the stuff.

In just a week and a half, customers have bought up "60 to 70 percent" of the retailer's stock, and the downtown location on York St. was sold out of salt Tuesday afternoon, Vaclavek said.

More slippery weather to come

The shortage comes as more precipitation threatens, with Environment Canada warning of freezing rain in London, Parkhill and Eastern Middlesex beginning Wednesday afternoon.

The agency said travel may be affected.

And if you haven't gotten your hands on a bag of salt yet, keep your eyes out: both Tuckey's and Copp's Buildall are expecting more salt deliveries within the next few days.

Even then, competition may be fierce.

"We are getting some in, but most of it is already spoken for through previous orders, stuff like that," said Borshell.

"The whole supply chain is kinda' shortened out right now on all that product."

These bare skids would normally be chockablock full of salt bags, according to Borshell. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

Borshell said he had to cast his mind back about four years to think of another time the business went through such a salt shortage.

"People were almost buying it off the back of the truck when they'd come in," said Borshell, adding, in the years since, he'll often wind up with stock left at the end of the year.

"It's hard to anticipate inventory for that kind of thing."

(Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

For would-be salt buyer Ed Needham, the lack of salt at Tuckey's Tuesday was "shocking," but still, he was undaunted.

He planned to check another hardware store, and if that didn't work, he had a plan C.

"We move to Florida."

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