BROCKVILLE, ONT. -- Trying to find a shovel or an ice scraper on the shelves of Home Hardware in Brockville was a difficult task last year.

The store sometimes went weeks with empty shelves because the weather just wouldn't let up.

"Last year we had a lot of freeze and thaws, but it never really went away," said Ed Bertrend, a garden centre associate at the store. "It just kept building and building, so people had to use more ice melt than they have this year."

The region is experiencing a milder winter this year. The lack of precipitation has meant more product available to sell.

"We've done well, probably better than last year because last year we were out for weeks at a time," Bertrend said. "This year, we've had constant stock and sales have been pretty steady."

Over at Jack Van Dusen Excavating, co-owner John Van Dusen says their plowing and snow-removal business is finally picking up.

"It's coming into average," Van Dusen said. "It was a little slow at the start of the year. Now, it's coming into average."

He said last year's winter was good for business because they were steady throughout the season. 

Of course, just like every year, he relies on Mother Nature.

"You rely on the weatherman for part of it but, for the rest of it, you just have to play the cards you're dealt and work away with it. We can still get a lot of snow in March," Van Dusen said, smiling.