Bad weather brings increased sales for some along lakeshore

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.  – It’s been a cool summer in Michigan, and according to some business owners along the lakeshore, fewer people have headed to the beach this year.

That’s affected some businesses, while others have seen sales sky-rocket.

For the unofficial end of summer, Grand Haven beach looked scarce Saturday.

The wind had the surf up, and it looked like it kept the general population down.

“Business is a little bit off this summer,” said Russell Roberts, owner of Dairy Creme. “You know it’s been cooler and wet. We’ve got a lot of rain. We’re totally dependent on foot traffic.”

Roberts says his sales are down about 15 percent because of the cool weather.

The home of the turtle sundae and 30 different flurries and shakes has been around for 29 years, and a cool summer has always taken from their profit.

But some businesses don’t seem to be suffering.

Mackinaw Kites and Toys was packed Saturday with kids playing and buying toys and kites.

“The weather actually makes us busier because not everybody is chilling at the beach,” said manager Amanda Rolenkamp. “They are coming downtown to play with toys and games.”

The windy weather has made sales jump 10 percent as customers collected kites and boogie boards to take advantage of windy weather and big waves.

“We have actually been killing it,” Rolenkamp said. “The sales have increased because it’s a cooler summer.”

Over at a lakeshore staple, Pronto Pup Dogs, the line wasn’t as long as normal, but don’t let that fool you.

“I’m 30 percent above the best year we ever had,” said owner Carl Nelson.

He says even though it’s not as busy this holiday weekend, the cool weather has boosted his sales, selling some 3,500 hotdogs a week.

“The sunshine brought the people to the beach; the cold weather kept them off the beach,” said Nelson.

Carl’s stand has been around for 67 years and the cold doesn’t even keep his customers away when he opens in January for a short period of time.

Even hotels like the Harbor House Inn haven’t skipped a beat.

“Tonight and tomorrow it’s completely full,” said innkeeper Joyce Ritter.

They turned away nearly two dozen people who were looking for a place to stay and have stayed booked for most of the summer.

So, even though the cooler weather didn’t have the beaches packed this summer, the winds were blowing customers into the stores along the lakeshore.

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