2017-06-22 / Front Page

Dreary weather has had little impact so far

BY ROBERT BERCZUK

Summer officially started Tuesday, not that you’d know by the wet, cool weather that’s hovered in the area for most of the past month.

Still, several merchants said the rain hasn’t dampened their business and they’re looking forward to a good high season.

“Rain days are good for retail and part sales,” said Bill Munger, president of Conanicut Marine Services, who said his retail outlet on Narragansett Avenue has been busy. “The lack of sun has helped that part of it.”

Just down the street, Scott Sherman, owner of Jamestown Hardware, said that except for losing out on some Memorial Day sales, his store also has had a good spring, especially in regard to lawn-related items.

“We’ve had a pretty tremendous year so far,” he said. “It was very steady before (Memorial Day weekend).”

Victoria Corey, who opened Fuller Gallery in November, said her shop has seen a steady stream of customers this spring.

“Sometimes having the bad weather means people don’t go to the beach and walk the avenue,” she said.

Spinnakers Cafe owner Mike Ridge said his sandwich and ice cream shop, which includes some outdoor seating overlooking the bay “held our own during the bad weather.”

The town’s recreation facilities also have not been harmed by the weather, said Parks and Recreation Director Andy Wade. Campground reservations have been consistent with past years and the number of tent nights also has remained steady, which has been helped by the department’s new online reservation system.

The department had few program cancellations, he said, mainly due to the fact most were indoor events. The softball program did have to cancel a few practices and games, Wade added.

“The summer programs kick off the last week of June and July, so we are crossing our fingers that we will have great weather at that time,” he said.

One of the programs Wade said he’s most looking forward to is the department’s new summer camps, which feature a new location, new staff and extended hours.

He credited new recreation supervisor Deb Hagie for keeping many of the traditional summer offerings, like the playground program and sports camps while adding swimming classes and a surf and paddle camp at Mackerel Cove.

“I hope that many Jamestown children are able to take part in this program, and that parents find it a safe, fun, and enriching way for their children to spend the day,” Wade said.

While their businesses may not have been hurt by the wetter and colder than usual spring, store owners said a return to typical summer weather would be nice.

“There’s no question we need a lot more sunshine to get people out and about,” Munger said.

“If it’s nice, it definitely helps because people tend to be out more and getting ready for projects,” Sherman said.

Corey said she especially is excited about her shop’s first summer season.

“I’m very much looking forward to it,” she said. “Coming here, people get a real unique sense of how many quality artists we have (on the island).”

Ridge said he’s “planning for a blockbuster summer” due to the fact Jamestowners have been loyal to his business and tourist traffic has been up in recent years.

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