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Many local businesses enjoyed steady summer sales

September 06, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY

karenh@herald-mail.com

Friendly faces, summer heat and ice cream. It's a perfect combination, but Maugansville Creamery owner David Litten knows the true reason why customers keep coming back to his ice cream parlor on Maugansville Road.

They're "crazy," he said.

Customers have lined up from the coolers to the sidewalk almost every night clamoring for soft-serve and Hershey's hand-dipped ice cream, Litten said.

Large summer crowds also have hit the links, bought pools, slept in campgrounds and cheered on the home team. Hotel rooms have been full much of the year, and conventions of pygmy goat enthusiasts and motorcycling women drew big crowds to Washington County.

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For managers and owners of some businesses, the clink-clink of cash registers has accompanied summer's heat.

"We're still putting in pools," said Christi Garrett, a sales representative for Bair Pool & Supplies in Smithsburg.

According to www.i4weather.net, a local weather Web site maintained by Greg Keefer, summer 2005 featured 32 days between June and August with temperatures of 90 degrees and hotter. Though the season officially ends Sept. 21, summer's traditional sendoff was Monday.

According to Tom Riford, president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotels and motels reported occupancy rates around 80 percent in June and July. Occupancy rates for the year have exceeded last year's totals at this time, Riford said.

"This has been the best summer ever for tourism in Washington County," Riford said.

Tim Reeves, an assistant golf pro at Yingling's Golf Center in Hagerstown, and Matt Rauth, an assistant pro at Greencastle Greens Golf Club in Pennsylvania, said business has been average at the golf courses this year.

On an average day at Litten's ice cream parlor, business was booming. Over the course of a hot weekend, Litten said his store could go through 60 gallons of soft-serve ice cream mix and 55 3-gallon tubs of Hershey's hand-dipped ice cream.

"We had a gangbuster summer," he said.

Mary Rotz, whose family owns Antietam Recreation outside Hagerstown, agreed.

"The weather, you know, was really hot, and it didn't rain, and that was pretty good for us, I guess" Rotz said.

Rotz estimated about 200 children participated every day at day camp, and thousands more turned out to see the campground's Saturday night cowboy show.

Hagerstown Suns General Manager Kurt Landes said a schedule with family-oriented promotions and short on rain helped the team attract about 19 percent more people than last year.

Landes was estimating regular-season attendance to hit 152,000 to 153,000 fans - an increase of about 50,000 people over two years ago.

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