SARASOTA - Many businesses on the Suncoast rely on warm weather to draw seasonal visitors. But can there be too much of a good thing?
Businesses say that different temperatures can have different impacts -- even just in the daily patterns of when people come in the door. But they say the biggest weather factor this time of year is still the cold up north that sends the seasonal customers here.
“I look back at home in Virginia and see the weather is up there, and it's in the 30’s. So this is nice,” says Greg Collins and his wife, who are just two of the many who filled the outdoor seating of St. Armands Circle restaurants Thursday.
“This is gorgeous, gorgeous! It's freezing cold, rain, snow at home, so this is great,” says Judy St. Romain, visiting from Michigan.
Places here expect a lot of traffic this time of year, anyway. So do extra degrees Fahrenheit add any degree of business? “Not really. It's going have a better impact than if it were really cold. But whether it's 65 or 85, it doesn't really matter,” says Brian Wilson, owner of Madison Avenue Café & Deli.
But he does not complain. For one thing, more outside diners makes it easier to keep the inside of his restaurant clean. But on a day so suitable for bathing suits on nearby Lido Key Beach, people may spend their days in the sand, instead of spending money.
But the manager of the Columbia Restaurant says overall, warmer winter weather works in his favor, especially once night falls. “Nighttime business, sometimes when it's too cold, it actually takes away. No one wants to go strolling around St. Armands when it's 52 degrees. Now? They love sitting out here. When it's in the 70’s at 7 o'clock? Perfect atmosphere,” says John Monetti.
Even if a snowbird from Michigan like Judy flies south regardless of the forecast, give her the choice between 60 and 80. “80's, nice. I prefer 80.”
“Yeah. I like 80….I like 80 a lot,” says Collins.