Wintry weather creates busy week for some businesses

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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This week’s storms may have many residents hunkering down instead of heading out to shops and restaurants. But blustery weather is a boon for some businesses. Gutters When the rains pour, the phone starts ringing for Tom Granieri of Thomas Granieri Construction in Meadow Vista, who repairs roofs and gutters. “We get hammered pretty hard,” he said Monday. “People get overflowing gutters and other rain issues. If they have an emergency, we’ll get out and get a look at it right away.” Even without storms, this is traditionally a busy time of year for gutter cleaning. “I get more calls earlier in the year than later in the year,” he said. “People haven’t thought about it all summer and into the fall. A lot of people don’t want to get (gutters cleaned) until all the leaves have fallen.” Keeping roofs cleared and gutters clean when the weather is good can go a long way toward avoiding misery when it turns nasty. Sometimes customers wait to call until gutters overflow and gushing water pools around the house — a problem that clearing the gutters will remedy. Roofs A leaky roof can be another story. “It can be design flaws. It can be a roof that needs to be replaced,” Granieri said. If a leak develops, it’s important to get someone out who knows how to assess the problem, he advised. In the meantime, there’s something homeowners can do to keep the problem from getting worse. “If you have a roof leak and you can see stains in the sheetrock, poke a hole in it to drain the water,” he said. “If water drains, it will keep the sheetrock from coming down in giant pieces. A lot of times you can save the ceiling. But if it puddles, it will take down the ceiling in big pieces.” At All About Gutters, Bob Neeb says his really busy time for gutter cleaning is September and October. But he also gets calls about overflowing gutters when storms hit. He advises getting gutter guards as one way to ease the problem. “They’re fairly affordable and will retrofit over existing gutters,” he said. Trees Downed trees are another casualty of high winds and soaked soil. For Anthony Dinatale, owner of Anthony’s Tree Service in Auburn, the arrival of winter storms means busy days ahead. “I’ve seen (business) grow exponentially — 20 to 30 times normal — in storm times,” he said. But as a small business, there’s a limit to how many calls he can handle. “It doesn’t take a lot of extra work to all of a sudden be swamped,” he said. “You just have to prioritize.” Where Dinatale doesn’t get involved is when electricity is an issue. If a tree falls on power lines, that’s up to PG&E to handle, he said. Supplies The strengthening El Niño phenomenon likely will mean lots of trips to the hardware store throughout the winter. “Right now I would say customers are buying tarps and getting ready for the lights to go out,” said Mike Perry, manager of Ace Hardware in Auburn. “They’re buying everything from lanterns and lantern fuel to batteries and anything that produces light, like camping lights,” Fire starters for stoves and fireplaces are another big item. Ace prepares for the storm rush by bringing in extra stock of storm-related products each winter. Some years, it generates a lot of sales. Other years, less. “You can’t count on the weather, you do the best you can,” Perry said. Sandbags One thing Ace doesn’t carry is sandbags. Perry said he’s had quite a few requests for those during the past few days. For that, he directs customers to the Atwood Road fire station. According to the Placer County Web site, sand and bags are available for the unincorporated areas of the county at Placer County Fire Station 180, 11645 Atwood Road in North Auburn and at the Higgins Fire Station, 10106 Combie Road in Lake of the Pines.