Last-minute shoppers combine Christmas, storm supplies - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Last-minute shoppers combine Christmas, storm supplies

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Many store owners say Ice Storm 2013 also put a freeze on holiday shopping. Many people were unable to shop over the weekend. The rush is on now. And storm supplies are flying off the shelves.

"We usually bring in about 30 percent of our annual sales in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so this is crucial. And bad weather can really be devastating," said Leah Chiofaro, who owns the Burlington shop Hydrangea.

Chiofaro says the 2013 ice storm was a huge hit on what should be the busiest shopping time of the year. She says she is glad people stayed safe at home off the frozen streets, but says Sunday, Hydrangea only sold about one-third of what was sold the same day last year.

"And so it has been a tough end to the holiday season. So we are hoping to make up for that today," Chiofaro said.

Many shoppers didn't brave the storm over the weekend and now feel the pressure.

"I'm like freaking out," said Ieysha Williams of Shelburne. "I have my sister with me, so I can't even buy her her presents today. So it's literally the last day to do shopping."

"Yeah, it can be nerve-wracking. The weather was pretty wild down here, so I think a lot of people did that because it's packed down here today. And for the day before Christmas, it's usually not this wild down here," said Bobby Torney of Shelburne.

As store owners hope to make up for lost ground, last-minute shoppers try to check off their lists just in the nick of time. But the top gift on some people's Christmas wish lists may be hard to come by. To fight the ice storm, many shoppers have been searching high and low for things like ice-melt, rock salt and generators.

"We sold out of rock salt Saturday afternoon. We had a little bit of ice-melt left over on Sunday, that pretty much was depleted Sunday morning around 9 or 10 o'clock. And we've had people coming in ever since," said Chris Halverson of ACE Hardware in South Burlington.

Halverson says they can't keep storm supplies on the shelves. He says they haven't sold generators since the summer, but Tuesday, his store had just one left. A clear indication, he says, of how hard the storm hit.

"We don't usually sell a lot of them, but people are kind of scrambling," Halverson said.

"A lot of other people I have spoken to have said we can't find any salt, where can you find it, and we've looked all over," said Keith Aaron of Burlington. "And I mean, my only other resort would have maybe been drive somewhere else-- drive out of the state to get salt."

Wish list items that will be hard to come by before Christmas.

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