Business in West Wiltshire have reported mixed fortunes this week, as unpredictable weather conditions affected their trading.
Heavy snow kept staff and customers away over the weekend, but demand for fuel, winter supplies and essential groceries meant those that did stay open were kept busy.
Alison Sinclair, of Lowden Garden Centre in Shaw, said: “We work extremely hard to make sure the business continues to run in adverse weather conditions. “The farm shop was very busy as well, with people coming in who didn’t want to drive into the towns.”
Animal owners had to brave the worst of the weather.
Jo Barton, of Wadswick Country Stores, Corsham, said: “People have been coming in for salt and snow shovels and the usual feed and bedding for animals. People are having to keep their animals inside more than normal, so are buying in hay because they can’t get to the grass.
“We’ve also been selling lots of woolly hats and scarves; our bestsellers have been our fake fur headscarves and wellington boots. We’ve got hundreds of boots, but some lines have already got shortages.”
Despite fears of motorists panic-buying fuel, many garages found other items selling out.
Helen Trevor, of Ashley Garage in Box, said: “It’s usually fits and starts when there’s bad weather. We got the panic beforehand, then it got slow when the snow started, as we miss out on the builders and the usual morning trade.
“Since Friday, we’ve been busy for petrol, but also in our convenience store, with people panic-buying milk and vegetables. Some of our staff haven’t been able to make it in, either.”
Other firms made the most of the snow. Acres Supply Garden Centre, near Warminster, used 1.5 tonnes of snow to create a 14ft high snowman.
Store manager Rob White said: “We were open all weekend, but thought it would be a good idea while it was quiet to make a huge snowman. We have a machine that scrapes up snow into a big mound, which helped a lot.
“Business has been steady. The snowman has attracted quite a few people, who want to have a closer look.”
With temperatures rising, the last of the snow is expected to melt this weekend.