PARKERSBURG - With temperatures threatening to break into triple digits this weekend, area businesses are bracing for the heat.
On Thursday, temperatures reached into the 90s. In the afternoon a marquee in front of St. Joseph's listed the temperature at 98, while the weather station atop McKinley Elementary Schools showed a cooler 95 with 35 percent humidity. Officials said while highs for today and tomorrow are expected to remain in the upper 90s, the heat index could make it feel 100 or more.
With high temperatures come a need to cool down, and for some area businesses which specialize in keeping cool, this time of year means extra business.
Photo by Michael Erb
Daphane Matteson, shift manager at Sno Biz in the Park Shopping Center, prepares a blue raspberry Shave Ice on Thursday.
Ed Kanitz, parts manager for Steers Heating and Cooling, said the spring and summer come with their own seasons when it comes to air conditioning repair.
"Most of the work comes on early in the season, but when you have an extra hot weekend, the number of calls picks up and they are a lot more urgent because of health concerns," he said.
In the spring the first few warm days lead to a flurry of service calls as people turn on their air conditioners only to find they don't work.
"We get slammed really early in the season," with maintenance calls, he said. "This time of the year, they've already been running a lot, so it is typically breakdown calls."
Mark Roach, service manager for Steers, said the rising temperatures tax air conditioning systems.
"Typically any big swing in temperatures is when your system is going to show you its problems," he said.
With temperatures expected to rise into triple digits today and remain in the high 90s this weekend and into next week, Steers is bracing for a busy weekend.
"We're already making arrangements for guys to work this weekend," Roach said Thursday. "Usually it'll cost you a little extra money (to have the work done on a weekend), but people are willing to pay for their comfort."
Sno Biz in the Park Shopping Center in Parkersburg is helping people cool down in other ways. Offering a variety of frozen treats and drinks, the shop is expecting an uptick in daily traffic as temperatures climb.
"When the temperature goes up, sales definitely do go up," said Adam Parsons, owner of the Parkersburg Sno Biz and Kool Eats LLC.
On an average day the shop serves 300-400 patrons, but hot days increase that number to 500 or more, he said. This weekend, Parsons said, will be no exception.
"I make sure we have an extra employee here, and we make sure everything inside is ready to go during our busy time," he said. "On hot days the Shave Ice is our big seller."
Parsons said many people wait until the evening hours to come to the Sno Biz to avoid the blistering heat of the day, but business also picks up mid-afternoon. Many church and sports groups come to buy snacks and drinks after services and practices.
"If it is hot and it is a church day, it is going to be busy," he said.
Parsons said Sno Biz also offers daily deals online when the temperatures rise. Patrons can visit the company's Facebook page by searching for "Sno Biz" or can find updates through the businesses Twitter feed at "SnoBizWV."