NO BUSINESS LIKE SNOW BUSINESS!

THE massive effort to keep local communities "open for business" swung into action last week when the area was hit be relentless snowfalls.

In true "Dunkirk spirit", teams of workmen moved into the town centre to try to cope with the deluge of snow, clearing routes for pedestrians and drivers alike.

As school pupils were given an extra few days off from their studies, and as commuters braved the roads to get to work, those fortunate enough to be within walking distance of the workplace were greeted with surreal scenes with piles of snow some three feet high at the side of the roads.

Those who did manage to get to the supermarkets cleared the shelves as quickly as they were stocked, whilst local businesses selling wellies and snow shovels witnessed the items disappearing - "like sna aff a dyke!"

At Harbro in Queenswell Road staff were run off their feet dealing with customers stocking up on wellies, winter feed for their animals and snow shovels.

Staff described trading from Monday to Thursday as "bedlam" with some 400 pairs of wellies sold in only three days.

By Thursday lunch-time there wasn't a snow shovel to be had, with snow scrapers also being sold out.

A spokesperson said: "We have been inundated over the last three days since the white stuff landed.

"People have been buying salt, feed for their animals as their main concern was to get their animals fed.

"Customers have also been looking for snow scrapers and spades, but they were the first to go.

"It has been busy, busy. busy."

Staff at David Irons & Sons in Castle Street in Forfar also dealt with a steady stream of customers looking for snow shovels, and again by Thursday they had sold out.

Manager Barry Watson said: "If we had more shovels we would be fine but we've sold out. People have been buying garden spades instead as anything is better than nothing.

"We have also run out of salt supplies, having sold 40 bags in two days.

"We have had a steady stream of customers this week with probably every third customer looking for a snow shovel."

It was a similar story at Nickel and Dime in East High Street with customers flooding through the doors from Sunday onwards.

First to be snapped up were snow shovels, which sold out, with the supplies of sledges also proving popular.

Whilst some businesses cashed in on the adverse weather, others found the going tough.

Staff at the North Street Dairy pulled out all the stops to make sure customers weren't let down and that their daily deliveries got through - albeit a little late in some cases.

A spokesperson explained the conditions were the worst they had had to deal with for some time, praising the dedication of their drivers and delivery boys.

Speaking on Thursday she said: "We've got there but we are all really tired. The boys deserve a gold medal, as do the drivers.

"This is the worst there has been for a long time. We've managed all the deliveries so far other than a couple of farms on Monday.

"We didn't finish the deliveries until about three o'clock on Monday afternoon - we normally finish around 7.30 in the morning.

"We have had a van go off the road into a drift this morning.

"Our customers have been really appreciative and we have had a lot of phone calls from folk praising the delivery boys.

"The problem is we can't get into schemes, they are the worst bit so the vans have had to stay on the main roads and the boys have been running in."

Residents in outlying areas also experienced difficulties with residents in Lunanhead complaining of not seeing a snow plough for four days.

In Glamis the snow fall was described by Bill Dougan, chairman of the local community council, as "horrific".

Whilst he acknowledged it was "very pretty" to look at, it had left many villagers and those in Charleston stranded.

Talking to the Dispatch and Herald last Thursday he said: "Only this morning we managed to get the pavements clear. The gritter piled up the snow on the pavement.

"Contractors have now been in with diggers piling the snow into trucks and taking it away to dump it and there has been so much.

"The local shop has been a boon to the villagers. A lot of people have not been able to get their cars out, especially those in Strathmore Terrace and Strathmore Road.

"They are managing to walk down to the village, along with people who have walked in from Charleston. The shop has done really well for the whole community.

"Everybody is very cheery; maybe this will make people appreciate the village shop a wee bit more.

"Conversely they have done very well. The buses can't get in and out - it's been a very difficult week."

Postal services in the town were also affected by the snow fall, with mail not being uplifted from some town centre businesses.

A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: "All our postmen and women in Forfar and Kirriemuir are working hard to keep the mail moving and are making deliveries and collections where it is safe and possible to do so."

A Service update for customers can be found on the Royal Mail website at www.royalmail.com/serviceupdates.