Mixed reviews for wet summer
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | August 13, 2015
Local business owners are giving this summer mixed reviews. For some, copious amount of rainfall seemed to drive more people to their establishments, resulting in a profitable few months. But the businesses that rely on warm, sunny days didn’t fare so well.
Joanne Sharpley’s Source for Sports in Haliburton surpassed last year’s paddleboard and kayak sales. But other products, such as swimwear, weren’t really moving.
“We needed better weather,” said owner Joanne Sharpley.
“I would have wanted last summer back,” she said, pointing out that 2016 was the store’s best year in 25 years. “We didn’t have that heat and consistent days of 30 degrees [Celsius]. I live on a lake and I think I went swimming once.”
Sharpley’s business sells sports equipment, apparel and footwear, among other items.
In previous years, her store has done well during Midnight Madness. But with a tornado warning issued on the day of the event and lots of rain, it was rather quiet. For example, she typically sells 40 pairs of Oakley glasses but only sold seven this year.
“There wasn’t the traffic,” said Sharpley.
One positive change she noticed was that several new cottage owners came into her store. She recorded their information for products that come with warranties.
“I can’t even tell you how many new customers I added this summer.”
The Bonnie View Inn’s dockside patio took a bit of a hit because of the weather, but the rest of the business did well, according to owner Andrea Hagarty. In recent years, she has focused on weddings because of unpredictable weather.
“I pre-book a wedding,” explained Hagarty. “They would still come have their wedding if it snowed in July.”
She booked 30 weddings this year and expects to have more next year. Room bookings were up at least 10 per cent compared to last year.
Her biggest challenge was a lack of staff—and because of it, she had to do jobs she normally wouldn’t.
In Carnarvon, business was booming at the Rhubarb Restaurant and Boshkung Brewing Co. In fact, it was their busiest summer in four years and the rain seemed to help.
“Some of the rainy days were our busiest days,” said Terri Mathews-Carl, who owns both businesses with her husband, Christoph Carl. “The rainy days in the restaurants are always busier, because people are looking for something to do.”
She found that visitors and cottagers came to the county earlier this year, and there were more of them.
“Our June business felt like July,” she said.
On Canada Day, they opened a new location—Boshkung Social—on Water Street in Minden. It also did very well.
“It exceeded our expectations,” she said.
Mathews-Carl believes that the county’s marketing initiatives are attracting new visitors to the area.
Yours Outdoors, a business that specializes in experiences packages, was affected by the weather.
“It [business] was OK, but it wasn’t great,” said owner Barrie Martin. “The factors working against a great season were cool weather, all kinds of rain, and large and abundant insects.”
Rain days also pose a challenge for golf courses.
“Lots of rain doesn’t help,” said Dale Bull, co-owner of Haliburton Highlands Golf Course. “You can’t get those days back.”
There were many days they couldn’t let golfers or power carts out because of the weather. On the positive side, they didn’t have to do much watering.
Their busiest time during summer is the last two weeks of July and first two weeks of August.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.