4 Businesses Making a Killing on the Polar Vortex

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Cold weather isn’t great for the economy, as cancelled plane trips and snowed-in commuters causes billions of dollars in losses to businesses across the country. But not every company fears heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures. Some obvious businesses applauding the cold weather include ski resorts, snow removal and makers of cold weather clothing, but here are four types of businesses that are loving it:

1. Salt producers: Many of us know names like Morton Salt from our kitchen tables, but in fact 41% of salt sales in the U.S. go toward highway de-icing. And the cold weather and snow means business is booming. “We’re seeing demand for de-icing salt that’s simply unprecedented in recent memory,” salt-producing Cargill Inc. spokesman Mark Klein recently told The Wall Street Journal. 

2. Ice fishing: While the densely populated coasts of America may get their fish from nearby oceans, the midwest is all about ice fishing. $260 million worth of ice fishing gear was sold in 2012, according to the American Sportfishing Association, an 11 percent jump from the prior year. In places like Minnesota, the practice is evolving from a niche means of survival to a full-blown past time, a trend only boosted by recent cold snaps. According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, sporting goods companies are now selling high-tech “fish houses” that keep anglers warm out on the lake, and can run upwards of $30,000.

3. Natural gas: Natural gas prices have reached historic lows in recent years as the fracking boom has flooded the U.S. market with supply. But a cold snap, especially in the northeast, has allowed energy companies to charge sky-high prices for those wishing to heat their homes. Bloomberg’s Matthew Phillips writes in a recent post:

” On Jan. 22, thermostats in New York City bottomed out at 7 degrees, a day after the price to deliver natural gas into the city spiked to a record $120 per million British Thermal Units in the spot market on the outskirts of town. That’s about 30 times more expensive than what the equivalent amount of gas cost a hundred miles away in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale, the biggest natural gas field in the U.S. and home to some of the lowest gas prices in the world.”

4. Plumbers: Cold temperatures mean busted pipes, a goldmine for plumbers. Max Hofmeyer, an Ohio-based plumber told Cincinatti.com that his business went from fielding 125 calls per week to more than 100 per day since the deep freeze set in, due to pipes bursting in the cold.“We’ve been bombarded by people mainly with frozen pipes,” Hofmeyer said. “People are literally crying over the phone.”