NILES, Mich. - The little bit of snow we had is gone and there's no doubt what type of day it was Wednesday in Niles. "Dark and dreary," said John Heilman, a salesman trying to stay dry on Front Street. The rain came down in sheets.
Of course some were rejoicing the unseasonably warm weather. "We don't get snow all of this year it wouldn't bother me," said Matthew Flannery of Niles. "I think it's great we're saving money on our heating bills,” said Kim Zechlin, another Niles resident.
Some cringe when it doesn’t get cold in mid-December. "I need it to get bitterly cold like right away," said Bryan Williams, owner of Trailhead Mercantile, a hunting and fishing store in downtown Niles.
Williams needs this rain to be snow and water to turn to into ice. "There’s just not much to do outdoors this time of year besides ice fish," he said. 20% of the business Trailhead Mercantile does in December is from ice fisherman and without the cold nobody is buying the bait and tackle he needs to sell.
At least for the next week-and-a-half Williams has Christmas shoppers coming in and the Hunter Ice Festival is good business but after that…"After that it'll get pretty lonely in here if there's no ice," he said.
Others are taking the rain. "I think it's great I can do without the snow," said Zechlin. "I’m happy any day to take the rain over the snow. (There is) no shoveling, no salt,” said Heilman. As long as there’s a little white stuff in the near future. "Let’s get cold we need some snow for Christmas," said Heilman.