JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With a hard freeze warning in effect from Thursday night until 10 a.m. Friday for Southeast Georgia and Northeast Florida, space heaters, propane gas, firewood and even hot beverages are in high demand.
The demand is leaving some store shelves nearly empty, and some shops are having a difficult time keeping portable heaters in stock.
With temperatures expected to bottom out in the low 20s overnight in the Jacksonville area, people outside were bundled up, wearing multiple layers of clothing to keep warm.
Many who don't have central heating have been using portable heaters to stay warm this week.
At Proctor Ace Hardware, heaters have been selling faster than they can be restocked.
On Thursday morning, the store had an entire section filled with heaters. Later in the day, there were barely any left.
"Right now, there is a great demand because of our weather. We're down to the low 30s," said store manager Bob Ganger. "This is Florida. We're not used to this."
The phones at Proctor Ace Hardware have also been ringing off the hook with customers calling, wanting to know what heaters are left in stock.
In addition to space heaters, propane tanks, fuel outdoor cauldrons and gas-powered heaters are also in high demand.
Firewood is also hot a commodity. At Reggie's "All in One Services," employees have been working around the clock to provide wood to customers with fireplaces.
“Everybody around here is looking for firewood," said Reggie's employee Frederick Fortune. "Demand is pretty high.”
Meanwhile, people who do have central heating but were experiencing problems with their heating system have been calling heating repair shops .
“I called an air conditioner company and they said I was the 200th person that called them," homeowner Tom Ramsey said.
The volume of calls shows there is also a high demand for heating system repair.
Cold weather creates high demand for hot beverages
In addition to heaters and firewood, there is also another product that is in such high demand that it’s selling fast off of store shelves and causing one local business to see more than the usual number of customers.
Given the frigid temperatures this week, many people are wanting a hot beverage.
Judging by the shelves at one grocery store, hot chocolate is in high demand.
On Thursday at Bold Bean Coffee, people were escaping the cold by enjoying hot coffee, tea and hot chocolate.
“Normally, I would love to be sitting outside, but I came over here to Bold Bean to get a nice, warm drink," customer Sarah Niss said.
“It’s funny when you go up to order, sometimes they ask if you want your drink iced. They didn't even ask today," said customer Karen Feagins. "They know everyone is going to want their drink warm because it’s so cold outside.”
“I’ve been here for like 10 or 11 years, and it’s never been this cold," customer Jennie Beltz said. "I was just working in the office and needed to warm up so I came to get a coffee.”
The escape from the cold is translating into higher store profits.
“This year has been a lot colder than usual, so we’ve picked up quite a bit," said Art Minchew, coffee shop manager. "We actually doubled our business."
For those indulging in a hot beverage, make sure to let it cool off for a little bit to prevent burning yourself.