Snowplow drivers prepare for storm after long drought in Michigan

Fewer snowfall means less income from snow removal companies

SOUTH ROCKWOOD, Mich. – Students and teachers hoping for a snow day aren’t the only ones full of anticipation ahead of Wednesday’s winter storm.

With snow in the forecast, things are finally heating up in South Rockwood.

“I got on the phone and called everybody up that’s plowing with us, that drives our trucks, and we just started getting things ready today,” said Louie Orleans. “Filling everything up and making sure salt spreaders are ready, and we were happy.”

If you’re not happy about snow, Orleans is.

Orleans owns Louie’s Landscaping on Telegraph Road. He has eight snowplows that have been out just once all winter, which is not good when you are in the snow removal business and get paid by the push.

“This winter has been slow,” Orleans said. “We’ve had a couple of snowfalls and more salt than plowing.”

In fact, last winter was not a banner year for snowfall and snow removal either, which is why Orleans had to be quick on his feet because fewer snowfall means less income from the snow removal company.

Instead of waiting on mother nature to bring the snow, Orleans pivoted and converted a building on his property into a general merchandise store.

The E and L Discounts shop was born out of fewer flakes falling these days, working to fill the gap from fewer dollars coming in from removing snow.

“We started up E and L Discount store selling general merchandise throughout the winter basically to help more income coming in because we can’t rely on the snowfall to come in,” Orleans said.

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.