by Lisa Tome
While you may be fed up with the weather, some people flourish when old man winter rears his ugly head.
"Snow brings us a lot of tow ins. We're doing 24 hour towing. And now we housing double our volume of vehicles. We've been working extended hours," said Dominic Del Giorno from Harrington Mita in Rising Sun.
Del Giorno explained that the last quarter of 2017 and the beginning of first quarter of 2018 have brought abundant business to Harrington Mita. "Between the deer and the snow and ice, it was a perfect storm for us. We got loaded with deer (damaged vehicles from deer collisions) in December. Every other vehicle was hit by a deer," he said.
There are so many vehicles at the shop now, that it has displaced employee parking.
Del Giorno also said that local car rental companies advised him that there were so many accidents, and needs for rentals, that there has been a shortage of rental cars.
Eric Ragan of Ragan's Towing near Rising Sun said he's also been experiencing a busier than normal January. "With the snow and ice, people are sliding into ditches. And we've had batteries, batteries, batteries. We went through a lot of batteries. Snow is good for business," said Ragan.
Martha Barchowsky from Banks Recycling and Towing near Rising Sun, said the focus of the business, recycling, shifts gears during winter. "We retrieve people who are broken down or who have wrecked in the weather," said Barchowsky. The business also has plowing contracts with the State of Maryland. Banks also has commitments for towing with police agencies and companies. "We honor those commitments no matter what the weather," she said. "We have people (staff) that are out in this weather no matter how long it takes. When scrap isn't active, the towing picks up," she said.
Anne Thomas has also been busy. She and her husband, Bob run Thomas Oil, in the Perryville area. "We are busy. With the cold weather, we stay on top of deliveries and that keeps us even busier," she said.
Thomas explained that the company has a limited fuel oil delivery area. And they like it that way. "If somebody is out of oil, it's hard (to say no). We do things the common sense way and take care of our regular customers first. We have taken care of customers on Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. We couldn't go at this pace all year round but we answer our phones seven days a week," she said.
She said there are laws governing how long a driver can haul. "We work until we are done. And we are working long hours to make sure people are taken care of," she said. Thomas said that those in government call for a state of emergency during bad weather. "The crisis should be the week before the snow," she said.
The weather has been great for us. And (at the time of the interview) it's only 73 days until April 1," she said.
"My peak time is year round. But this has been overwhelming. We're definitely busy and it's been overwhelming," said Ron Dixon of Dixon's Plumbing. Dixon's has been dealing with water leaks and frozen pipes in addition to the typical plumbing emergencies.