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Spring Weather Makes, Breaks Minn. Businesses

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – When it comes to the weather, some Minnesota businesses just can’t catch a break. Last year’s spring fell early, but this year’s just won’t seem to start.

At May’s halfway point, parts of the Twin Cities were still under a frost advisory. This after one of the first genuinely beautiful days this year, during which people jumped at the opportunity to get outside and work in the garden.

When the sunshine comes out, so do the golfers, the gardeners, the bicyclists and so on. All are heading to the businesses that allow them to spend more time outside.

The sudden rush of customers was a welcome change at Hiawatha Golf Club.

“We’re just hoping for more days like this,” said an employee there. “The weather has been tough to manage.”

The cool spring caused the course to open April 8, a week later than the typical year. The rainy days that followed didn’t help. Workers there said they couldn’t remember the last time the season started so slowly.

“Having moved from North Carolina, I thought the season would be half over,” said one golfer. “Here I am still practicing for beginning of it.”

From the golf course to the garden shop, Settergren Ace Hardware store has more summer inventory than expected. Coming off an early spring in 2010 makes this year’s slow start all the more difficult.

“Last year was the opposite, where we had spring at the end of March and had people in their yards,” said Mark Settergren. “So it’s taken a month and a half to really get it going this year.”

Even bike shops, which typically get busy as winter ends have noticed this year is different.

“It’s interesting to see that it takes a string of good weather for people to remember that they ride their bikes,” said Penn Cycle employee Sam Thillen.

But weather-dependent business owners know you can’t judge the entire season on the first few weeks. If there’s one thing they’ve learned, Mother Nature is unpredictable.

“We’ll come out alright. We can’t take it month-by-month. We have to look at it quarter-by-quarter,” said Settergren.

Business owners talked about an early spring last year, but it rained for several weeks in June. And August was so hot, people didn’t want to be out golfing or gardening all day.

The hope is this slow start to spring means a strong finish.

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