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With shovels and snow blowers, Daugherty’s helps Duluth survive through the ’91 'mega-storm'

DCN Reporter

Most people think of Halloween as a holiday filled with scary costumes, sweet candies and little trick-or-treaters, but when the Halloween of 1991 comes to mind, many can remember it being filled with shovels, snow blowers and endless amount of snow.

From Halloween until Nov. 3, 1991, the snowstorm to which many know as the “mega-storm,? dumped 36.9 inches or over three feet of snow in Duluth, according to the National Weather Service of Duluth.

“No one went anywhere for two or three days,? said Sheri Dunbar, 50, the owner of the small Dunbar Floral and Gift shop in the Hillside. “We got a ton of snow.?

Though the “mega-storm? nearly shut down all of Duluth, Scott Lundberg didn’t let a little snow get in his way.

Lundberg, 53, the owner of Daugherty’s Hardware and Appliances on East Fourth Street in the Hillside, remembers the storm like it was yesterday.

“The snow never stopped,? Lundberg said.

The Poplar, Wis. native, who didn’t miss a single day of work during the storm, remembers driving the one-hour commute to work every day through the whiteout conditions.

“I didn’t let the storm get me,? said Lundberg, whose family has owned the Hillside hardware store since 1965.

Daugherty’s sells a variety of hardware and appliances. It also has many shovels and snow blowers in stock during the winter months.

But the “mega-storm? in ’91 brought in a few more shovel and snow blower sales than the average weekend, or for that matter, the average year.

“We sold every shovel and snow blower we had,? said Lundberg. “It was the largest sales day in our history.?

As Lundberg recalls, during the storm, there were only five employees in the store, a cashier and the rest who helped distribute shovels and snow blowers to many eager customers.

“We just sold shovels and snow blowers,? Lundberg said.

Lundberg even remembers some customers who assembled their snow blowers upstairs at Daugherty’s that they had just purchased, so they could use them to walk back home.

While the “mega-storm? crushed snowfall records, Daugherty’s--within just a few days--smashed records of their own. “We sold our entire yearly inventory of shovels and snow blowers,? Lundberg said.

John Colt, 24, who did his fair share of shoveling during the Halloween weekend has now worked at Uncle Loui’s café in the Hillside for five years.

When the “mega-storm? happened, Colt was in elementary school and he still remembers how his friends, family and neighbors helped each other out.

“The snow was nearly over our heads,? said Colt. “We had the whole family out there shoveling.?

According to the Duluth News Tribune, the “mega-storm,? was the worst snowstorm in the region’s history, burring neighborhoods, leaving many without power and littering the streets with countless abandoned vehicles.

Sandy Himmelspach, 48, who has worked at the Dunbar Floral and Gift shop in the Hillside for ten years, distinctly remembers people wearing shirts after the snowstorm.

“I survived the mega-storm? was the phrase printed across each shirt.

However, if it wasn’t for people like Lundberg and stores like Daugherty’s Hardware and Appliances, many Duluthians might not have survived the “mega-storm,? and could still be digging themselves out today.

“We never closed,? said Lundberg. “While people were at home, we were at the registers.?