PORTAGE TOWNSHIP — Managers for two local lumber and home improvement stores say the July 1 hail storm that rolled through Catawba Island and Danbury Townships is still sending hundreds of customers through their doors weekly.
“We have been considerably busier,” said Roger Radsick, of Gordon Lumber. “Without looking at the numbers, I’d say we’ve been up 20 to 25 percent.”
Roofing and siding have been the staples.
Radsick said that while local contractors and most out-of-town contractors are buying shingles and siding from local retailers, some are ordering their supplies and having them shipped in.
Locally he said, anything associated with roofing and siding is flying off the shelves, he said.
Rich Riedmaier of Carter Lumber, just down the street from Gordon on Ohio 53, agreed that shingles and siding are the No. 1 sellers.
In general, a spring order for shingles consists of about 10 truckloads, he said.
“We’ve probably already gone through 20 truckloads in just the last two months,” Riedmaier said.
The storm tore through a half-mile side swath of the two peninsulas, wreaking heavy damage on thousands of homes, cottages and trailers. It left roofs dented, shingles cracked, siding with saucer-sized holes in it and a variety of other damages, including broken windows.
Despite the fact that temperatures have cooled in recent days, with the area’s first frost coming this weekend, Riedmaier said he believes the work will continue.
“It’s going to go until they can’t do it anymore, and then it’ll start back up again in the spring,” he said.
Many local contractors, Riedmaier said, have 30 to 40 jobs lined up.
Radsick said many homeowners are taking the opportunity to make home improvements not necessarily related to the storm.
“Probably one of the most common things we’re seeing is if their windows are questionable,” he said, “They’re ordering new windows. We’re seeing some new room additions, too.”
Both managers said driving to Sandusky or Fremont to shop at the giant home improvement stores isn’t a real money-saver.
“Those guys do a good job of selling their image,” Radsick said. “But more often than not, we’re competitive on our products.”
In addition, he said, his employees average about 15 years experience, and are far more likely to give good construction and home improvement advice than employees at the large chain stores.
Both managers said they’ve scrambled to keep from running out of certain items.
Radsick said he has transferred products around numerous times between the seven other Gordon locations to keep area construction crews supplied.
Riedmaier said he hasn’t actually run out.
“I just try to keep ahead of the game,” he said. “You just have to guess at it.”