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Hot weather a boon to some Hagerstown businesses

July 18, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com

Before a storm blew through the area late Wednesday afternoon, the heat index rose above 110 degrees.
And that kind of weather has an effect on area businesses.

Ice, fans and different types of foods and drinks have all been sold more often during the hot weather, according to business owners throughout the region.

Mohammad Khan, owner of Nadia’s Convenience Store, said the sale of bags of ice increased dramatically during the hot spells.

“We sell 15 to 20 bags a day when the heat is bad,” he said. “On a regular day, we only sell five to six bags.”

Khan added that although the sale of ice increases during the heat, his customers also want cold drinks.

“There are more drinks sold than ice,” he said. “People buy a lot of water, Powerade and Gatorade.” 

The high temperature in Hagerstown on Wednesday was 97.5 degrees at 1:49 p.m., and the heat index was logged at 111 degrees at 1:15 p.m., according to local weather observer Greg Keefer’s website at i4weather.net. 

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Cindy Myers, owner and manager of the Rita’s stores in Hagerstown, said her sales of ice and custard are not as good in excessive heat.

“It does get busy, but if it’s very humid, people will just stay inside,” she said. “A hot muggy day is not good, but hot with a nice breeze, like beach weather, is good.”

Myers said she is usually busy on summer evenings.

“It cools off later,” she said. “We’re usually busy from 6 p.m. to close.”

Customers, however, were lining up at Rita’s on Virginia Avenue during the hottest point of the afternoon Wednesday.

Keedysville resident Sarah Smith and Williamsport resident Kara Hardy both went to the store after completing a summer class at Hagerstown Community College.

“I get ice cream more often when it’s hot,” Smith, 21, said. “We like to go to the pool and get ice cream in the heat.”

Hardy, got an italian ice at Rita’s and said she gets it often but enjoys it more when the temperature is high.

“It’s super refreshing, and the ice is just enough to cool us down,” she said. “I come here probably enough to keep them in business.”

Charlie Startzman, 52, of Hagerstown, owner of Startzman Hardware on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown, said some products sell more in hot weather.

“We have a lot of requests for fans. Because of the drought, people are buying soaker hoses and sprinklers,” he said. “That’s about what we have for weather-related items.”

Startzman said it is harder to sell tools during the summer.

“Things are pretty slow right now,” he said. “People are not out so they’re not buying stuff or doing anything outside.”

Mohamad Alkayal, 19, owner of Jassmin Coffee on Public Square in Hagerstown, said while sales of cold drinks increase during the summer, hot coffee still sells.

“People get more iced coffee, iced tea and ice cream, but they will still buy hot coffee in the morning,” he said. “In the winter, they just want hot coffee.”

Hagerstown resident Anna Devaney, 64, said she likes to buy iced coffee when it’s hot outside.
“It cools me down,” she said.

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