Handcrafted snow is incredibly labor intensive
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania–Russell Hart’s great-grandfather started Sno-Globe Industries in this city in 1919. Within a half-century, the one-time mom and pop snow manufacturing company had grown into the largest business of its kind in North America. But Hart, the CEO and president of SGI, says his company has never enjoyed a winter like this.
“A normal February, we run about 50 railcars and 100 semi-trucks daily,” Hart says, “This year, we’ve done triple that, easy. And the orders haven’t slowed.”
Hart credits the slowly improving economy for his company’s recent surge in business, as traditionally frugal east coast cities now have a little extra to spend. Luckily for Hart and other snow manufacturers, those cities are spending the extra dollars on literally tons of snow.
“We’ve dropped more fresh snow on Boston the last two months than we dropped on all our client cities combined last year,” Hart says, “If we don’t get another order this year, we’ll still have made a profit. It’s just incredible.”
The high demand for snow has also affected other industries, such as the air delivery service Hart uses for snow drops, and the water manufacturer from whom Hart purchases his raw materials. SGI makes all its snow by hand, which has necessitated the hiring of additional skilled snow craftsmen. The demand has also forced Hart and other snow manufacturers to modify their production schedules.
“Usually by this time of the year we’ve started moving the bulk of our production to our Colorado facility,” Hart says, “But orders are so strong here, we’re going to have to hire more workers there. I’m just really blessed that people love winter so much.”