St. Joe businesses see boost during Summer heat wave
ST. JOSEPH, Mi. -- The near triple digit temperatures in St. Joe haven't kept families from spending their day at the beach. Hundreds of people came out to Silver Beach-- and dozens were soaking up the sun and water at Whirlpool's Compass Fountain just off the bluff.
And local businesses noticed the influx.
Employees at G&M Variety, on State Street, downtown, said business was steady-- and beachgoers came to the store to stock up on everything they might need for the beach-- from beach umbrellas and blankets to buckets and boogie-boards.
And of course, sunscreen.
But while everyone headed on down to the beach, other businesses in town prepared for a mid-afternoon rush for another Summer essential: ice cream.
“In the hot weather, of course, everyone needs ice cream," said Kilwin's store manager Patti Beland.
The staff at Kilwin's saw lines leading nearly out the door from the beach crowd on Tuesday, and they expected to see a similar rush in the afternoon and later on in the evening.
“We get the big sunset crowd after," said Beland. "We’ve been very lucky.”
Further down the road, just outside of the downtown area, another ice cream shop expected similar business.
Dairy Korner owner Denise Miceli said of the rush of customers “It can happen anytime throughout the day. You never know, but mostly you can always count on the evening, so anywhere from six to close, we can be pretty busy.”
Miceli added though that sometimes, this kind of heat can backfire on ice cream shops.
“When it’s a little too hot, it can be a detriment to the people coming out," she said. "Ice cream can melt a little faster, and people would like to be in the air conditioning.”
But so far, that has not been the case for the ice cream shops in St. Joe.
“Business has been very good," Miceli said. "When it’s hot, everybody does come out. They like to go to the beach and then they come out off the beach to get something cool, so it helps us to be warm.”
Beland said “The heat definitely does kind of help. It’s more families with young children, I think it’s harder with some of the older customers that we have, but they all seem to find their way up town, so we’ve been really very lucky.”
Both shops said their proximity to nearby beaches has been an important factor in getting so much business, with Kilwin's and the Dairy Korner being just up the bluff from Silver Beach and Lion's Park Beach, respectively.
And both shops also sell more than just ice cream.
Kilwin's specializes in candy and fudge, as well as ice cream.
The Dairy Korner also offers food, like burgers and hot dogs. They also recently expanded their menu from a "ghost kitchen," with specialty foods like hummus and sushi rolls-- which can be ordered online and picked up at the Dairy Korner.