Bernie Fougere usually has to look far and wide for wood pellets, so he was shocked to see a sign for them on the side of Herring Cove Road.
Pellets have been in short supply all winter because a major producer in Quebec suffered a fire, and the demand is higher because more people are switching from oil heat. Suppliers in Nova Scotia have been overwhelmed by customers.
“I go all the way down to the South Shore to get pellets whenever I can,” said Fougere, who lives in Hubbards.
On Friday, Richard Wright started selling the pellets from the driveway of his construction business on Herring Cove Road.
“I’m just trying to make a living now because the bottom has fallen out of the construction market, and I’m just trying to feed my family,” he said.
The sluggish economy hit his construction business so hard, he was recently looking for an alternative source of income. He read about the wood-pellet shortage, then he found an ad from a Maine company wanting distributors in Halifax.
“Oh my God — the feedback I’m getting on the product is (it’s) the best product around,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s a shame it comes out of the United States.”
Even though he’s only making about 50 cents profit from each bag, Wright said business is brisk.
Fougere said he’s just happy to find a supplier. He’s used a wood-pellet stove as his main source of heat for 14 years.
“So it’s really important I get pellets, and I’ve been really struggling.”