Last summer the area was plagued with drought and this year it’s too rainy. So far this is the wettest year on record with 28.7 inches of rain. That and the unseasonably cool temperatures are keeping residents indoors and away from big money makers for the Naperville Park District.
“It’s real detrimental to the Park District, we have felt it in many ways,” says Executive Director Ray McGury. “First off, golf. Not as many people playing golf, which impacts our revenue stream. Centennial Beach, it is a major impact on us, the last three years we’ve set records for attendance. Our attendance for this year and season passes is drastically down almost 40 percent.”
Less people going outside also means less work for the almost 650 staff members employed through the Park District during the summer.
“It really puts a lot of stress and pressure on us to hold to the bottom line,” said McGury. “We are obviously cutting back on a lot of our operational expenses sending people home early, telling people not to come in. and that has a ripple effect. People count on that income stream, but we have to be fiscally responsible and do that.”
Recreation isn’t the only business that’s struggling with the weather. Local landscaping companies like The Growing Place are seeing a decline in business as well.
“April was exceptionally hard, it was not only rainy it was cold,” says Rich Mattas who runs The Growing Place in Naperville. “And being in retail being that we’re all outside and that no one could do anything even if we could sell them product. We were very down in April.”
During May and June the business has picked up in between the rainy days, but The Growing Place is also behind in landscaping installations because of the weather.
“Even in installation we had people wanting work done, but we couldn’t actually get out and do it so that backs us up,” said Mattas. “Even now we’re still backed up from April in the installation part.”
All businesses that rely on the outdoors know weather is part of the gamble.
“The nice thing is all the years that we’ve done really well we’ve saved our money for that I hate to say it, rainy day fund. But that’s what it is,” said McGury.
“In 2008 when weather had nothing to do with it just tanked, that I can do nothing about. Weather I can ride out, the economy I can’t,” said Mattas.
With the economy improving local businesses aren’t letting the weather dampen their expectations for the rest of the summer.
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