Weather a boon to some businesses

Extreme winter weather may keep people at home rather than in the shops, but some businesses prosper when the mercury plummets.

Brad Clark, owner of BC Plumbing Heating Electric Ac/R Inc. in Big Flats, loves the frigid temperatures. When the weather stays bitter cold and windy, furnaces fail and pipes freeze.

"Weather-wise, extreme temperatures is what keeps us going," he said.

For towing companies, snow and ice can mean busy days.

Tim Polmanteer, owner of T & R Towing Service on State Route 415 in Bath, said a snow storm may double their normal business.

"On a normal day we can get 12-15 calls, on a snowy day there will be 25-35 calls," he said.

The number of "slide-offs" and other accidents increases sharply if the snow begins during the day - after people have gone to school or work, said Brian Crane, owner of Crane's Towing on Addison Road in Painted Post.

When ice or snow are in the forecast, people should be better prepared or stay home, Crane said.

But when people have to get home and the road crews can't salt the roads quickly enough, that is when trouble begins.

"I don't care how experienced a driver you are, if you can't stand on ice, how can you drive on it?" Polmanteer asked.

The cold weather also means an increase in the number of cars that need to get towed because they won't start in the morning, both men said.

Cold weather can help some of the businesses on Market Street.

Lena Faulisi-Roberts, owner of Flip-Flop, 15 E. Market St., said her boutique has been doing well this winter. There were a surprising number of people Tuesday on the Market Street - despite the snow, she said.

Faulisi-Roberts said when the weather is poor, some of her customers want to stay close to their work or home rather than drive to Big Flats. Many are also trying to save on gas, she said.

For those who brave the bitter weather, food and drink can soothe the coldest of souls.

"Chocolate sales have been up because people want warming and comforting things," said Pam Weachock, owner of Market Street Coffee and Tea, 63 Market St.

She said the recent cold snap has been great for her business. People walk in, head straight for a warm drink, and begin to thaw.

Angela Driggers, a barista at SoulFull Cup Coffeehouse, said some people may stay in their offices rather than venture out. However, those who do come into the shop spend more on multiple purchases and plant themselves at a table or on the couch.