Small businesses are breathing a big sigh of relief now that Congress has taken action to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff.
Many businesses had been holding off important decisions on hiring and inventory until lawmakers took action to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases that were due to kick in at the beginning of the year. But some businesses remain uneasy, even though a fiscal cliff deal is in place.
Weather is a big driver of sales at Ideal Yardware. So, the Sioux Falls store doesn't need a fiscal crisis on Capitol Hill to muddle its financial forecast.
Not even the heavy-duty snow blowers in stock could carve through the fiscal cliff; that required an act of Congress.
"I'm glad they did something. But to me, they're just avoiding what they really need to accomplish, so it just kind of seemed like a band-aid over a big wound," Ideal Yardware owner Cory Hansen said.
Hansen says businesses like his still face a great deal of uncertainty because Congress put off addressing the budget deficit. But he's optimistic that extending tax cuts for most Americans will generate more sales and business growth.
"If there's more money left in the economy, we have opportunities then to buy more inventory, to potentially expand, to hire more. The nice thing is we can definitely at least retain what we have now, where we don't have to let anyone go and we can keep our business model the same," Hansen said.
Last summer's drought really hurt sales of lawn mowers. So, a wet spring and summer would be a big business boost this year.
"Definitely for us, it's just if we can have bad weather of snow, or good weather with a lot of rain, we'll take that any day over a bad economy," Hansen said.
A snowstorm can't come soon enough for Ideal Yardware. But bad weather, even though it's good for business, is something not even Congress can pile onto the fiscal cliff.
Hansen says another source of uncertainty for his business is sorting through the health insurance requirements of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.