Friday, July 25, 2014

Wishing for snow

February 19. 2013 8:25PM
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JENKINS TWP. – Fully recovered from devastating damage caused by the September 2011 flooding, Milazzo Industries is hoping for the kind of weather that drives demand for its Qik Joe Ice Melt and its other products.

Even though we're functioning at 100 percent, the demand (for Qik Joe) isn't as high as it's been in the past, said John Wesolowski, senior vice president. There isn't an early demand and the economy has affected customers.

Wesolowski said he's hoping this winter offers enough snow to keep Qik Joe supplies going out of the River Road manufacturing plant that is now equipped with mostly or partially new machines.

Wesolowski said between 10 and 12 feet of water from the Susquehanna River inundated the plant during the record flood.

Everything inside was touched by water, Wesolowski said. What took years to build up in equipment was devastated in a matter of days, he said.

Even after salvaging what they could, the company was left with an estimated $9 million in damage – including lost materials such as calcium and sodium used to manufacture Qik Joe.

Wesolowski said the final damage total is still in the works and that equipment was replaced and the plant open for business two months after the flood.

Then, an unseasonably warm 2011-12 winter resulted in low sales, Wesolowski said.

Wesolowski said Milazzo Industries has already begun shipping Qik Joe to consumers in the Midwest, New England and the Carolinas, and that local stores should soon see Qik Joe on the shelves.

Wesolowski said Milazzo Industries' goal is to support larger customers so that single-bag purchasers can go to their local store.

Unfortunately, there's been a mild start (to this winter), Wesolowski said. True winter doesn't start until mid-December, so we're hoping there's an increase in demand.

Sheena Delazio, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7235.

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