This winter means business.
And not just in the figurative sense. For certain industries in Logansport, the snowfall and low temperatures has contributed toward what business representatives call a significant increase in commerce.
Christopher Roller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Northern Indiana Office in Syracuse, said Friday, Jan. 5 that the Logansport area had received 7.5 inches of snow this winter as of Jan. 1.
That snow wasn't melting anytime soon. Back-to-back low temperatures of -17 degrees made Jan. 1-2, 2018 Logansport's coldest start to a year in at least 20 years.
Wendi Blair, owner of Collision World on Logansport's south side, said it's not uncommon for his business to be a few weeks behind on jobs. Its backlog currently dates out to the middle of February this year — a boost Blair attributes to the snowy and icy road conditions that the season has brought.
Staff at Collision World has been coping with the excess by working later, Blair said, adding there were a couple workdays last week that didn't end for him until 10 p.m.
Collision repair isn't the kind of industry that necessarily calls for celebration when business is booming, according to Blair.
"It's just a business where you feel bad that someone had a misfortune," he said. "But you're glad they're OK. You try to make a bad situation better for them."
Before drivers can get collision work done, oftentimes they need a tow truck to transport their vehicle to a body shop.
Ed Klinkhamer, a mechanic and wrecker driver for Logansport-based K&K Recovery, described work this winter as "nonstop."
During the few minutes that he looked back on how busy the season has been so far in Collision World's lobby Monday afternoon, Klinkhamer received two phone calls for tows.
"It's been one right after the other," he said.
Snow created work through slide-offs and crashes, Klinkhamer continued, while frigid temperatures have contributed to the workload by requiring many vehicles to need tows after engines couldn't start.
He estimated he's been going out on about eight to nine tows per day lately and it's not uncommon for him to get calls throughout late-night and early-morning hours.
"It's been hectic," Klinkhamer said.
While flurries have forced vehicles to slide off roads this winter, subzero temperatures have been demanding a need for adequate heating in area businesses and homes.
Chas. A. Michael Heating, Cooling & Plumbing based in downtown Logansport has been "crazy busy" recently, according to office manager Arlene Long.
The company is installing four new heating units this week, she continued. To keep up with demand, Long added staff has been having to head to vendors in Indianapolis for parts themselves as opposed to waiting for them to be shipped.
"Last year was so mild," Long said. "This year has really hit us so hard."
Along with installations, Long said workers have also been keeping busy with repairs throughout the company's service area of about a 20- to 25-mile radius.
"We only got three guys and we just keep them as busy as we can," she said.
It's meant a lot of after hours and working on weekends, Long said. It's difficult to backlog jobs, she continued, especially when an elderly customer is in their home with no heat.
"You can do without air conditioning, but you certainly can't do without your heat," Long said.
Long emphasized the importance of regular maintenance on heating systems, adding it can "save a lot in the long run."
Reach Mitchell Kirk at email@example.com or 574-732-5130