Long Winter Weighs on Some Local Businesses

NORFOLK — Spring is the best time of year at Shamrock Nursery in O’Neill.  The plants are sprouting, the flowers blooming and the grills are ready to be rolled out.  The only problem is… it’s mid-April and it’s not exactly spring yet.

Owner Delray Kumm says the long winter shortens his busy season.

“We have a fairly short window of opportunity,” Kumm said.  “Selling plants is kind of like golfing or fishing – the nicer the weather, the more people do it.”

Car washes are affected in a similar way.  Superior Wash Manager Roger Lubke says they usually shut down one automatic wash bay during winter weather – and two if it’s really cold.  But he says they do the extra work of insulating the bay doors and leaving out heaters so they can stay open.

“We try to keep people coming in because you know they have snow and ice on their vehicles and they want to get the salt off,” Lubke said.

The additional labor and cold temps means workers at the Norfolk car wash look forward to spring.

“You know it’s going to be a busy time of year,” Lubke said.  “You know people want to get their cars cleaned up, they want to get them vacuumed out, washed out and cleaned up for the springtime.”

Kumm says the positive of the long winter is the contrast between what’s growing outside and what his staff can grow in the greenhouses.

“People come in and it’s cold and dreary and brown outside and they come in and see all this lush, green growth and all these beautiful flowers,” Kumm said.  “It’s fun to hear how excited they get.”