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Businesses that depend on dry weather feeling the crunch this summer

July 12, 2009
By KAYLEIGH KARUTIS, The Leader-Herald

For local businesses that depend on warm, sunny weather to attract customers, the recent rain has left a number of them waterlogged, and it doesn't look like it's going to get much better.

Last month was the 10th wettest June on average for the Northeast region of the U.S. since 1984. It was the wettest June on record for a number of northeast cities, including Atlantic City, N.J., and Bangor, Maine. Experts are predicting a damp July as well.

Locally, the rain has had a negative effect on businesses that depend on revenue during the summer to sustain them.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Hales Mills Country Club Manager Debbie Hollenbeck assists Gerald Gaydusek of Broadalbin as he prepares to play a round at the course Thursday. Hollenbeck said the rainy weather has kept many patrons away from the links this year, but she said the course is “surviving.”

"I wouldn't say it's really bad because we're surviving, but that's about all we're doing," said Debbie Hollenbeck, manager of Hales Mills Country Club in Johnstown.

Hales Mills has had fewer patrons over the past month or so because of the rain and abnormally cool weather, Hollenbeck said. Golfers who start in the morning are often driven off the course by rain a few hours later, she said. They usually get rain checks and come back later, but the weather prevents golfers from coming out to play in the first place.

"We totally depend on the weather," she said.

Hollenbeck said tournament players suffer most at the hand of Mother Nature. Tournaments normally can't be rescheduled and players will often play through pouring rain, as long as there is no lightning.

"You can't call of a tournament at the last minute," she said. "They can still play, but you want the people to be happy, and it's no fun playing in the rain."

Crystal Stewart at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Fulton and Montgomery counties said other professions - namely farmers - are suffering, too.

"All the farms in the area have been seeing some adverse effects from the rain," she said.

Stewart said making hay is difficult to near impossible when it rains regularly, because the hay can't get wet or it will rot and grow mold. Also, standing water in fields and incessant rain lead to the proliferation of diseases among crops. While no farmers locally have lost entire crops, Stewart said, many won't be able to harvest until later in the season, which means farmers will get less money for their produce.

One silver lining, Stewart said, is there hasn't been any hail like last summer.

"Most people will be able to salvage a good crop, but many will be running behind, which means a drop in prices," she said.

Those farming tomatoes and potatoes are having particular problems because of a fungus that affects those crops. It thrives in rainy weather, she said.

"Home gardeners are seeing it too, but their livelihood doesn't depend on [their crops]," she said.

Fewer people are using their vacation days to get out on the Great Sacandaga Lake, Northampton Marina owner Jim Mianecki said. Boating when it's raining just isn't as much fun, he said.

"The docks are full," he said. "With the weather not cooperating, sales are down."

It's not gloomy at all local businesses, though.

Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Wally Hart said his office recently put out a brochure with information on what people can do when the weather takes a turn for the worst. At the top of the list are museums, historical sites, movies and bowling alleys, Hart said.

"Certainly we would rather have the sun shining, but there are lots of great things to do that the weather doesn't have an effect on," he said.

Hart ticked off a list of venues immune to rainy skies: High Rollers in Amsterdam, Johnson Hall, Perry Lanes in Johnstown, Arkell Museum in Canajoharie and Checkers Out Speedway.

"We have a lot of great restaurants and shopping, and these are things you can do no matter what the weather [is like]," he said. "We're trying to get people to have a positive approach and enjoy their vacation."

Perry Lanes Manager Heidi Meher said it's no secret bowling alleys usually are slow during the summer, but with the rain, there has been a slight increase in customers.

"Basically, if it rains, we're busy," she said. "If it doesn't, it's not."

Kayleigh Karutis covers Gloversville news. She can be reached at



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