Supply chain issues could lead to snow blower shortage

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WEST BEND, Wis. (CBS 58) - Sunday morning's snowfall has industry experts encouraging Wisconsinites to not wait when it comes to purchasing a new snow blower with supply chain issues causing challenges for manufacturers and stores.

"I would definitely say buy early if you can," advised Todd Tennies, owner of Tennies Ace Hardware in West Bend. "Get in and see what's available and if you can make the decision on what you want to purchase, make the purchase right then and there."

Tennies says the store currently has 200 snow blowers on hand, but that number can and is expected to drop quickly.

"I would expect that the first significant, measurable snow will bring in an abundance of customers and we'll sell anywhere from 50 to a hundred snow blowers," Tennies said. "Customers are awfully excited with the snow that's coming and they are aware of the fact that there are inventory shortages out there with every major manufacturer; Simplicity, Ariens, or Torro."

Hartford's Chuck Steinmetz is on the market for a new snow blower for the first time in nearly two decades. He says he wants to make sure he's prepared and not left helpless when the snow really starts to build up throughout the winter months.

"Make sure I get out there and get it before they're all gone or before that first snowstorm hits," Steinmetz said. "I know supply issues have been a problem so I don't want to wait."

When it comes to other snow removal products such as shovels or Ice Melter, Tennies doesn't expect major concerns, adding that he's seen a lot of supply available in warehouses. The reason the shortages could impact snow blowers is the lack of available parts needed to make them.

"Most of the delays come in the fact that when you put component pieces together to assemble a snow thrower, they could be missing engines, they could be missing a throttle cable, they could be missing tires," Tennies explained. "Just component pieces putting 5,000 units together at one particular time."

Tennies says another important thing people at home should do is start up their snow blowers to make sure they're in working order, adding that once the season really takes off, repair shops will experience backups and you may have to wait longer than usual for repairs to be made.

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