By Hannah Wallace April 30, 2010

Mike McLaughlin

Director of Horticulture

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Not only has it been cold but it’s also been a very wet winter. This definitely decreases the number of visitors, which affects our other revenue streams, such as memberships and gift shop sales. It also has affected our extensive collection of rare tropical plants; the ones in greenhouses were fine, but the trees and epiphytes outside were damaged. Although we did lose some plants, most of them will grow back and survive. While we at Selby were disappointed with the lack of green, we had lots of visitors in March who were thrilled with the grounds. I’d predict that the next few months will see an increase in attendance, but it is really dependent on how rainy it is. The plants are happy with the rain, but the visitors are not.

DJ Coutu

Associate Golf Professional

Legacy Golf Club

If I had to estimate, I’d say that our rounds were down 10 percent to 12 percent. People don’t want to go out and play golf when it’s cold. To try and make up for the loss of customers, we’ve had some specials to encourage people to come and play. This helped to some extent, but there is only so much you can do. Some people just don’t want to come out regardless because it’s been so cold. Now that the weather is getting warmer, we’re seeing an increase in customers.

Bryan Spaulding


Old Salty Dog, City Island

It was a very hard winter for us, being a mainly outdoor business. We definitely saw a decrease in customers. Because we are right on the water, the wind was also a factor. To try and keep warm, we’ve installed some outdoor heaters. On nice days, we’ve seen dramatic increases in people because they have been cooped up for so long. It was like living up North, where people have cabin fever; as soon as it’s sunny and warm, everyone wants to come outside to eat. I hope we never experience another winter like it.

Wendall Jacobsen

Manager, Beach Bazaar of Sarasota

The cold weather affected our business in an extremely negative way. We’re located in Siesta Key Village, and we rely a lot on the tourist industry and people going to the beach. Usually, that time of year, there are plenty of people who walk around the Village, especially at night, and who come into the store. This winter, when the sun set, it got cold and there weren’t as many people out and walking. We haven’t done much to make up for the loss of customers, but we are really looking forward to spring breakers. We rely heavily on them. In the few days that it’s been warm, we’ve already seen a dramatic increase in these customers.

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