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Heavy Snow, Shifting Temps Leave Rock Salt In Short Supply

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Not only is the salt bag that many homeowners bought three years ago gone, in many cases, so is the bag that replaced it as the cycle of snow-freeze-thaw continues.

Buying the next bag may be a bit of a problem.

Bob Barkemeyer at Wilmette's Linden True Value Hardware said Tuesday that he is having problems getting new supplies, especially the smaller jugs.

"It seems like our suppliers are running out," Barkemeyer said. "We've tried to order from a couple of different ones for the last two weeks and they have very, very limited supplies and it's kind of catch as catch can."

Hardware Stores Running Low On Salt

He said there is not much left.

"I've got some calcium chloride flakes, but there's just not a lot," he said. "I'm down to my last pallet of rock salt and I'm down to a dozen bags of calcium (chloride) right now."

He said the suppliers are telling him they don't expect to be re-supplied with smaller jugs or bags, just bags of 20 pounds or more.

"They're easier for them to knock out," he said.

Barkemeyer said landscapers have begun to call around because their supplies are low and their regular suppliers are running out of salt. Across town, Millen's Hardware has had spotty supplies much of the winter but just received a new shipment.

The one thing they agree on – salt sales this winter are brisk.

"We've probably sold four to five times as much," Barkemeyer said.

At Millen's, assistant manager Jeff Barkley said, "We've had great sales this year."

Four times as much?

"Easily," Barkley said.

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