Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

February 23, 2014

Up and Down Winter

TRAVERSE CITY — Bill Nall is getting used to 14-hour work days this winter.

The owner of Dino’s Pizza in Traverse City said the brutal stretch of cold, nasty, fatiguing, make-you-want-to-head-south-for-the-winter weather has been good for his northern Michigan business. Pizza orders are up approximately 15 percent at Dino’s on Eighth Street, likely because people want their dinner delivered to their doorstep so they don’t have to brave the ice and cold.

“Business is always better for us the worse the weather,” said Nall, noting recent cold snaps are producing sales levels comparable to usual July Cherry Festival numbers.

“Everyone is staying home and getting pizza, which is okay with me,” Nall said.

No one seems immune from the ruthless weather, which affects everyone in the Grand Traverse region from wood splitters to retailers. Andrew and Louis Groleau can’t split the wood fast enough to meet demand for seasoned hardwood at Groleau Farm Market at 2080 Hammond Road East.

The Groleaus have moved close to 200 cords to heat-hungry customers.

“We can’t keep up,” said Lynn Groleau. “Its been crazy … normally people have enough stocked up, but it’s been so cold they’ve run out and other people are burning it because propane is high and the wood helps keep their heating costs down. We can’t keep it in stock. We get it loaded up and it’s gone. People are saying they are having a hard time finding it.”

Restaurants are reporting ups and downs in customer traffic. Nabiel Musleh is the owner and cook at Zakey restaurant, which serves fine Middle Eastern cuisine on Front Street in Traverse City. Business is down about 20 percent at the restaurant with the name that translates into “delicious” in Arabic is down, prompting Musleh to offer extra specials and attention to customers to make sure they know how much he appreciates their patronage.

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