Salt Shortage Hits Customers Hard

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Lansing (WILX)-- It's probably not too surprising if you go to the hardware store for some salt only to find them sold out. But you might be surprised to know who bought most of it.

The plow companies, who normally go through a major supplier, are scrambling this winter and are buying up all the salt.

A few pallets of salt are all that's left at Ace Hardware in Lansing, and there's no way of knowing when it'll be re-stocked.

"As of right now the warehouse is totally out of every grain of salt there is," said Denny Perdue, owner of Vet's Ace Hardware.

He's not alone, many hardware stores and gas stations in mid-michigan are down to their last few bags.

"A lot of stores will not replenish, and say they're gearing up for the spring. They'll sell you fertilizers (a lot good that'll do)."

If the cold weather continues, some are worried it'll only be a few weeks until there's nothing left. But customers aren't the only ones that are going to be having trouble finding salts. Snow removal contractors are having a tough time as well and they're coming to those hardware stores to pick up those bags.

"I went up to Home Depot to purchase some salt. When I checked there were forty bags left. I wanted to buy them all but I thought I'd leave a few for the residential people," said Dennis Childs with 4th and Inches Lawn and Landscaping.

"We were down to about nothing so we had to go to the gas stations and super stores to buy as many pallets as we could find," said Brandon Thurston with Royal Lawn and Landscaping.

Private contractors say major suppliers have temporarily cut them off to give what they can to public departments in this shortage.
Without an end in sight, private contractors are doing what they can.

"We're scaling back as much as we can. We're salting lighter on days that it's not so cold."

The bulk price of salt has gone up by forty percent this winter, but the store owners we talked to say they don't plan to pass the increase along to their customers.

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