Lingering Winter Hurting Many Small Businesses


It's been one of the worst winters in years as most of the country has struggled with snow, ice, and record-breaking cold. Forecasters say it's not over yet.

Another powerful storm is set to pummel parts of the country this weekend. This is not good news for small businesses that have taken a beating from the brutal weather.

General Motors and Ford reports U.S. sales declines last month as frigid temperatures and snowstorms pounded much of the nation.

Sales at car dealerships have been frozen.

"Nobody comes out, it's just the snow. They're afraid two weeks before and it takes two weeks for them to come back out," dealership owner James Shultz said.

Industry analysts say dealerships in warmer weather states fared well this winter. Those affected by the cold and storms are offering more discounts to unload inventory, which means good deals for consumers.

Airlines are also taking a big hit. About 1 million flights canceled this season, costing airlines as much $500 million.

Some businesses are thriving. Roofing contractors are seeing a boom, and thanks to potholes, car repair shops can barely keep up with business.

At Ace Hardware sales of snow blowers, shovels, and other cold weather products are up 135 percent.

As the frigid weather tightens its grip winter weary Americans are longing for warmer days. The travel website Jetsetter.com said bookings for warm destinations are up 38 percent.

Meanwhile, it's been so cold this winter that Niagara Falls has frozen over.

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