Cold weather brings even more shoppers to Eau Claire checkout lines

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - With the holiday season underway, shoppers aren't just looking for gifts and decorations. Cold weather gear is now a necessity and shoppers are taking notice.

Black Friday marked more than the beginning of holiday shopping this year. It was the end of high temperatures reaching the 50s and 60s, and the start of more typical cold weather, sending even more shoppers out.

"We've definitely seen a dramatic change in what people have been purchasing as the weather changed," Mark Dier of the Eau Claire Goodwill said. "We're seeing a lot of people coming in looking for sweaters, for overcoats, boots, snowshoes, gloves, mittens, hats."

Even though the colder weather has sent shoppers to stores to bundle up, a lack of snow is keeping other winter items on the shelves.

"It wasn't enough to get the snow shovels going, but certainly enough to get the coats, hats, gloves and boots going," Kmart store manager Harvey Reckard said.

With little snowfall last year, Pinehurst Hardware Hank owner Alex Bourdage said he's waiting this year too, to stock more snow removal items.

"People do buy some stuff in preparation, but a lot of us don't do it until we need it ... snow shovels, salts, ice melts, snowblowers are predicated on snowfall. So we need some snow to sell some of that stuff," Bourdage said. "I'll buy the bulk of my merchandise when I see the snow."

While some businesses are counting on snow this season, others rely on the kindness of people. Dier said the area is full of great donors, but more is needed.

"We can never have enough, as far as donations go. We can never enough with the winter clothing ... we get a lot of demand for winter coats, boots, and we never seem to have enough," Dier said.