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When cold weather is forecast, putting together a particular section or endcap devoted to emergency winter fixes can save the sanity of a d-i-yer searching for a fast fix, advises Sellars. It places needed merchandise in the client's fingertips.

Grouping repair kits, pipe, sealants and other emergency, demands also functions as a reminder to customers, says Debbie Kingma, vice president of Noble Co., maker of the Pipe Doctor burst-pipe repair kit. "Our apparel sells nearly as an impulse item," she says. "It is cold-weather driven. Folks might have had a problem this past year and purchase a kit to be prepared."

The Pipe Doctor retails for $9.95 and includes all things and instructions required for attaching both plastic and metal pipe.

Other high-demand repair products include PVC and CPVC pipe, bathroom faucet washers, copper tubing, clamps and duct tape. Also include products which help prevent pipes from freezing.

"Pipe insulation and heat tapes are quick and easy to use, and they can save the plumbing," says Beal.

They're also an easy sell to customers purchasing repair items. "They don't want it to happen again," says Sellars. "and they'll often get sufficient for the whole house."

So having ample inventory on hand for both pre- and post-emergency earnings opportunities is critical.

"When pipes burst, people want help fast," Beal notes. "If you do not have the correct merchandise, they will go elsewhere. They will not await an order to enter."