Stove users in the Ozarks scramble to find pellets

Published: Jan. 31, 2019 at 11:14 AM CST
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This latest winter cold snap is leading to a shortage in wood pellets.

Nixa Hardware sells up to 400 wood pellet stoves a year. It's also a common place for people to buy the bags of pellets they burn. But lately, they can't keep them in stock.

General manager Joey Glenn says they started noticing the shortage early this month. He says there is a high demand for the pellets, because of a harsh winter over much of the U.S. But the severe winter weather is also causing a shortage of sawdust that mills use to make the pellets. Sawdust comes from wood product manufacturers, and some of them have not been operating as much because of the weather. They're limiting their customers to 10 bags at a time right now.

Glenn says thankfully, most customers use their pellet stove is a secondary source of heat, and not their only way to keep warm. But they're doing their best to get as many pellets in the store as possible.

"We continue to get loads in," said Glenn. "We just can't keep up. We have so many customers, so when we get a load in, 22 ton, it will last three or four hours"

Glenn hopes the problem will get better by next week. They're hearing some mills are starting to pick up in production. But for future reference, he also recommends customers buy the amount of pellets they think they will need for the winter in the fall.