Winter hasn't slipped away just yet, but some living on Newfoundland and Labrador's Avalon Peninsula have found it difficult to locate one of the season's hottest commodities — road salt.
The culprit? Tens of thousands of faulty road salt bags, says Morgan Winter, vice-president of Avalon Coal Salt and Oil.
The Bay Roberts company provides a lot of the province's salt, typically found at gas stations and grocery stores in large, bright orange bags.
This year, Winter says, he thought he had his business's inventory in the bag. But it turns out he was sandbagged by the company's manufacturer.
He says the company discovered in the fall that it had been supplied tens of thousands of faulty 10-kilogram bags. Winter estimates the faulty bags made up about 50 per cent of what the company ideally likes to have in its inventory.
When the company went back to its supplier, says Winter, it discovered the lead time to get new salt bags would be longer than anticipated. Although the company also sells five-kilogram and 20-kilogram salt bags, Winter says the 10-kilogram bags are their best seller.
"If I don't have a bag to put the salt in, that slows down everything," said Winter. "We pretty much sold through everything we had in inventory, I want to say, two or three weeks ago."
"We don't operate that way. Normally we would have a 50 to 75 per cent cushion on what we would sell."
For those on the hunt for salt, Winter says 20-kilogram salt bags may be available at large retailers and hardware stores, and he even suggests seeking salt from his competitors.
The best places to go for salt are large building centres like Home Hardware, Kent and Home Depot, he said, as salt is likely in low supply at many gas stations.
Winter looks at this year's supply shortage as a learning lesson, one that can help prevent future slip-ups.
"We will be pre-ordering in April, and I would think we'll start ordering a two years' worth of inventory at a time just to get ahead of this problem."