St. Louis-area hardware stores, auto shops face supply shortages this winter


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – This winter has not only brought snow and ice, but also supply shortages.

Kenny Smit, general manager of Auto Beauty Specialists in St. Louis County, said with all of winter, his store is busier than ever.

“A normal workload would be 60 to 70 cars a week, and now it’s 90 cars a week. Then those 90 cars a week can’t be driven,” Smit said.

Not only is the workload heavy, but auto parts are also scarce.

“Technicians need their parts,” Smit said. “Insurance needs their parts. I need the parts so the car can go. The customer needs the parts, and we can’t get the parts.

Smit said he believed it was because of supply shortages due to the pandemic mixed with more crashes. He said what normally took days to fix now takes weeks or even months.

“We try to pre-order what we can, but you can’t take the car apart because the driver is still driving it,” he said. “So they come in, then you dismantle the car and you have to wait another two to three weeks.”

Local supply stores have the same problem. Steve Ripper owns South Side True Value Hardware and exhausted the snow and ice melt on Saturday.

“We’re trying to get them in before the next winter storm hits, so we can stock up now. That’s our biggest problem,” Ripper said. “I’ve had people call me constantly asking ‘Do you have ice melt? Do you have salt? and I’ll be like, ‘No, maybe Wednesday.’ No one in town has either.

Road crews are preparing for another possible winter storm this week. State and county say. They have enough salt.

David Wrone of the St. Louis County Department of Transportation said they had about 35,000 tons of salt at the start of winter. Now the county is down to around 25-36,000. Wrone says there’s still a long way to go to get through the rest of the winter.

“Salt is key because the last thing you want is ice covered pavement. So salt is important to us and we have enough,” Wrone said.

The county is the third-largest road keeper in the state, covering more than 3,000 miles. The constantly fluctuating temperatures have also created several potholes throughout the county. Wrone said potholes are typical of winter, and crews consistently deal with potholes year-round when the weather permits.

“So you have the freeze and thaw, and it takes its toll on your payout,” Wrone said. It’s inevitable ! In the area we live in, potholes are just the fact of life. »

The county is asking people not to park on the street in order to better treat the roads. It also encourages people to report any potholes they see. You can report potholes by visiting www.stlouisco.com/hwyweb or by calling 314-615-8538

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