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Demand is outpacing supplies of ice-melting products

Looking for ice-melting products for your property?

Good luck with that.

The demand for calcium, magnesium and sodium chloride products is so great this winter that shipments to local stores are flying off the pallets as soon as they arrive.

And sometimes shipments don’t even make it inside.

Take the approximately 350 25-pound bags delivered to Hector’s Hardware in Snyder on Thursday.

“Yesterday’s order, it never even got in,” said Jim Chameli, president of Hector’s Hardware and manager of the Harlem Road store. Customers went inside to pay and then showed their receipts before grabbing their bags outside.

“As fast as we’re getting it, as fast as it goes out,” Chameli said Friday. “We had three skids come in yesterday and by 3 o’clock it was out again.”

It’s pretty much the same story everywhere.

“All sold out,” said a customer service representative who answered the telephone Friday morning at the Lowe’s home improvement store on Southwestern Boulevard in Orchard Park.

At Ed Young’s True Value Hardware in Williamsville, three skids of ice-melting products were delivered Thursday.

“It was probably sold out within three hours,” said Joe Azzarella, the seasonal buyer for the store.

Azzarella said he had heard that customers were getting aggressive to claim a share of the shipment, which came in Monday. “From what I understand, people were fighting over it,” he said.

“There’s been a shortage of calcium chloride since probably November,” said Azzarella, noting the store was told as much by its Chicago-based distributor. There’s a limited amount of sodium chloride – commonly known as rock salt – and magnesium chloride, he added.

“It’s been hard to keep up,” Azzarella said. “With this ice we got the other day, this stuff has just been blowing out.”

The stock at Valu Home Centers also is going out the door as soon as it arrives, said Douglas Wasiura, a spokesman for the chain. “The demand has been way up,” he said.

There’s also another issue to consider, Wasiura noted: “The national suppliers … they’re having a hard time keeping up with the demand, too. They’re shipping to a lot of other places.” And some totally new places, he added, due to the cold weather throughout the nation.

Though time is of the essence for property owners trying to get rid of roof ice dams that are causing leaks inside, a natural remedy is on the way next week, when the weather forecast calls for daily high temperatures above freezing and mostly sunny skies.