How Much Did We Spend On A/C Last Week?
Hardware and appliance stores in Southwest saw their stocks cleaned out.
We may have all spent the last week perspiring profusely, but humans weren't the only ones sweating. So were our wallets.
Since July 1, hardware and appliance stores in Southwest Minneapolis raked in more than $27,000 in air conditioners and air conditioner-related sales.
Warners Stellian's Windom outlet made a big contribution to that statistic. They sold 55 window units before they ran out on Thursday, or about $18,000 worth of raw cooling power.
But most hardware store owners and managers that Patch spoke with on Friday afternoon said they could have given Warners Stellian a run for its money if only they had had more units in stock. Each owner or manager sounded like he was reading from a script while Patch interviewed them Friday afternoon.
"We don't sell that many in a year," Tom Thompson of Guse Hardware said. "I had six on Tuesday, and they were gone by Thursday."
"I sold three in one day," said Bob Knaak of the Settergren's in Linden Hills . "I could have sold five today, if I'd had them in stock."
"We sold five that we'd got in yesterday morning by noon," Michael Zampino of Nicollet Ace Hardware agreed.
Even the main Ace Hardware warehouse supplying its affiliated Minnesota stores ran out of the essential devices in the middle of the heat wave, Knaak and Zampino said. As the smaller, cheaper window units started to run out, some customers started snapping up larger window units with enough power to cool the whole floor of a house, said David Victor of Settergren's Fulton location .
The problem, Grant Shatek of Warners Stellian said, is that air conditioners are a seasonal product. Most stores order one or two shipments per year, and that usually lasts them until the winter arrives.
Even stores that ran out of window units or didn't carry air conditioners in the first place made out well this week as Southwest Minneapolis residents scrambled to find something—anything—to cool their houses. Staff at Bryant Hardware said the store had done "quite a bit" of business in foam window seals and other air conditioner accoutrements, and Mike Svododny of Diamond Lake Hardware said many of his customers began snapping up dehumidifiers and fans once he ran out of window units.
But add up the numbers of window units that local hardware and appliance stores sold, and you find that only roughly 80 such devices passed through stores' doors this week. Given how hard it was for stores to restock their shelves, it's a testament to how important it can be to plan ahead.