For Montclair residents and businesses, Thursday was all about getting ready for the first major winter storm of 2014.
The near-blizzard storm is expected to drop between 5 and 9 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service’s latest reports, bringing with it strong winds and below freezing wind chills when it hits North Jersey Thursday evening.
At Saunder’s Hardware on Valley Road, an employee was busy restocking shelves with shovels and ice scrapers in the afternoon.
“We are pretty well-stocked,” said store manager Dan Cassidy.
The anticipated snowfall and icy conditions brought customers in throughout the day looking for storm essentials such as starter logs, rock salt and antifreeze, Cassidy said.
One Montclair woman was relieved to find a specific snow brush at Saunder’s after spending the better part of the day looking for it.
Ayanna Bryan said she checked her car dealership as well as a local Home Depot before finding the brush in the neighborhood hardware store.
Bryan said this particular kind of tool — which removes snow without damaging your car — is easier to come by in her native Canada, but she would have to continue her hunt for a de-icer that’s a must-have back home.
Cassidy said the shop — which also has a big selection of sleds — would be open to 6 p.m. Thursday, and reopen at 8 a.m. Friday.
“This is kind of when we need to be here,” he said.
The Kings supermarket up the road was also bustling Thursday with shoppers, picking up essentials like milk, bread and eggs.
Bags of rock salt and firewood were stacked outside the parking lot entrance. Batteries and flashlights were still available under the customer service counter.
“We were busy yesterday and since opening this morning,” store manager Tom Smith said.
The store will be open until 10 p.m. Thursday, said Smith, adding he anticipates not having any issues opening the store in the morning.
Don’t want to cook, but looking for a warm meal? Stop by Whole Foods on Bloomfield Avenue where there is a buy one/get one free offer on soups all day Thursday while supplies last.
Those looking for snow blowers can pick them up in town at Saunder's sister store, South End Hardware on Orange Road.
Little Shoebox, a children's footwear shop on Valley Road, is well stocked with snow boots in sizes up to big kids size 6.