Local firewood supplier sees shortage ahead of incoming cold temperatures

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A local firewood supplier is battling more than the cold to keep Austinites warm this winter.

Harley’s Firewood has been supplying wood to the Central Texas area for more than 30 years, but this year, the business stock is running low earlier than expected.

(KXAN Photo/Todd Bailey)

“I can’t hardly buy any wholesale wood anywhere. We’re producing all we can,” Owner Harley Goerlitz said. “Lot of them are low and most of them jacked the prices up so high we can’t buy it.”

Besides overpricing with supply and demand, Goerlitz is also having a hard time finding anybody to do manual labor.

“It takes a lot of labor, and that’s about all wood is, it’s labor.”

A crew of 10 helped Goerlitz sell a truckload of wood to a long line of customers Wednesday morning ahead of approaching Arctic air — Austin’s first Arctic air mass of the winter.

The line of vehicles circled the wood yard Wednesday and trailed in the frontage road of U.S. 183 past noon.

“Well, I hate for them to line up, but we can just do all we can with the labor I have here,” he said. “I’ll have this load today, and I’ll maybe have another load this evening, if not we’ll have another load tomorrow morning, which will not accommodate that many people.”

Many of the customers are in line because of the approaching cold. Customer Madeana Ringstaff drove from Georgetown to grab some firewood before conditions get worse in the area.

“Because of the cold snap I’m trying to prepare for everything I can possibly prepare for,” she said.

Ringstaff has been buying wood from Harley’s for at least 15 years. This year, she’s come more often than past because of how cold it’s been this season. Wednesday’s purchase was her third load for the year.

(KXAN Photo/Todd Bailey)

“Little worried, a little worried,” she said.

Austin has dropped to freezing or below five times this winter and has recorded no temperature colder than 30 degrees, KXAN Meteorologist Jim Spencer said.

“It gets too much during this cold weather. We normally have a whole lot of stock here, but we’ve had a couple of cold spells, and they’ve just depleted our stock, and we just keep bringing in what I can buy here there and yonder and just cut what we can,” Goerlitz said.

“When it’s out, it’s out, and we still continue the cutting at home [in Giddings, Texas]. Course this weather’s gonna get real bad the next few days so I don’t know how much we can be out in it. As long as it’s not raining and cold, we can work out there if it’s snowing or sleeting.”

Ringstaff wasn’t aware of this year’s shortage before stopping by, but believes her family will have enough for what’s to come.

“Yeah, I came for $50, and he said only $40, so I got what I can get. I’ll be happy with this.”

If you’re interested to buy some firewood before Harley’s runs out, he said to please call ahead or visit the website.

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