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Some businesses suffer through warm weather

January 13, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

erinc@herald-mail.com

When the cost of fuel rose last year, Randy Baer said customers flooded his garden center, eager to buy wood for recently purchased wood stoves.

But for the past 10 days, Baer said, warmer temperatures have customers of Baer's Garden Center in Shippensburg, Pa., believing that winter is over.

Customers who were ordering at least one cord of wood a few months ago now are ordering half that amount.

"I know winter's not over," Baer said. "People are going to run themselves out of wood. It's going to get cold, and then they'll call."

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"It's been more of a roller-coaster ride in the weather," Accuweather meteorologist Josh Nagelberg said.January's temperatures have been above average - as much as 15 to 20 degrees, he said.

Wednesday's temperature of 47 degrees was 10 degrees higher than the average for this time of year. Thursday's temperature was 20 degrees above average, Nagelberg said.

Above-average temperatures are expected to continue for another week or two, he said.

But there will be occasional colder days.

"This weekend, there will be a blast of cold air," Nagelberg said. "Temperatures will still be above average, but because it's been so mild, it will be a shock."

The temperature today is expected to reach 57 degrees.Though temperatures have been above average for this time of the year, Baer said he still is delivering orders for wood. Two weeks ago, he was taking 15 to 20 orders each day. Now, the orders range from five to 12, depending on the day.

Bonita Bair of Spring Run, Pa., used to sell snowmobiles and now sells some parts for the machines at Bair George Snow Shed.

Bair, who is in the process of retiring, said she has sold only a few belts and some spark plugs this year.

"By this time of year, we have usually sold something," she said. "There hasn't been anything. There's just been very little snow."

Customers placing orders for half a cord of wood from Baer are saying that is all they will need for the winter.

Baer said he knows they will need more.

"We have a lot of winter left to get through," he said.

When temperatures turn colder and customers need the wood, Baer said he is not going to be able to fill all of the orders.

"I know that's going to happen," he said. "And they'll call in here saying they are ready to burn up the kitchen chairs."

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