Where the Shovel Is King

Fifteen hundred shovels. More than 600 sleds. Pallets and pallets of calcium chloride. A platoon of snowblowers.

The tally isn’t final — or exact — but the blizzard certainly seemed to represent a windfall for Polstein’s Home Center, a 90-year-old hardware store in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, another family-owned store that has struggled in the recession.

“We stock up in advance,” Justo Martinez, the store manager, who has worked at Polstein’s for 25 years, said on Wednesday. “If it doesn’t snow, its a problem. If it snows, we’re king.”

It snowed. With the street outside the 13th Avenue shop unplowed, Mr. Martinez and his employees towed supplies on sleds to customers. Snow choppers. Sand and cat litter, providing traction for stranded cars. Doormats.

A customer called, asking for another coveted item: a snowball maker. “We have that,” an employee answered, without missing a beat. The Snow Slinger sat next to a rack of shovels and the $99 snowblowers: a relative bargain at $14.99.

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