In Paul Weber's office at Agnew and Taylor Hardware in Lake Ronkonkoma, he has hanging a photo that ran in Newsday in 1986, the day before a big storm was supposed to hit Long Island.
It's a photo of Weber standing in front of a nearly empty wall that once held shovels.
It's the same story, year after year, he explained. Despite the fact that about 10 inches of snow fell on the area just a few weeks ago, he stocked the shovels and they flew off the shelves.
"Not only do I expect it but I count on it," he said. "that's how small stores like this stay in business."
He said that when he opened his doors Tuesday morning, he had 200 shovels. At 5 p.m., he had 13.
It was the same story farther east on Middle Country Road, where in Centereach, Costello's Ace Hardware manager Ed Ryan said he had customers purchasing snow blowers right off the delivery truck at 9 o'clock that morning and he had sold hundreds of shovels throughout the day.
"It makes you wonder," he said. "What happened to the shovels they used in the last snow storm?"
Weber said customers buying shovels told him they had broken or were stolen. For whatever reason customers are still buying shovels, he's prepared.
"As long as he can get through," Weber said. "I'll have a delivery here at 6 in the morning with 200 more."