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As the weather heats up, so do customers' needs
This week's hot weather has been good for some area businesses.

 As the temperature soared, Sammy T's Frozen Yogurt and other purveyors of frozen treats saw business heat up.
SUZANNE CARR ROSSI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 6/23/2012

BY CATHY JETT

Don Merritt hasn't had many orders for hot drinks this week.

But the owner of Blackstone Coffee Company in Eagle Village in Fredericksburg isn't complaining.

Customers at every table last Thursday, when the temperature soared to 100 degrees, were sipping iced coffee, iced tea, an Italian soda or a Blackstone Chiller--a frozen drink made with espresso.

"I don't think that since 11 o'clock today we've sold two cups of hot coffee," said Merritt.

Blackstone shifts gears from mainly making hot drinks to serving more of their icy cousins each summer. But unseasonably pleasant temperatures earlier this month made the spike near triple digits this week--and the resulting demand for all things cool--more noticeable than usual.

"It's been dramatic the last two days," Merritt said.

The stifling heat and humidity also sent many scurrying for the comfort of the mall, movie theaters and frozen yogurt shops. And it prompted stops at hardware stores and calls to pool companies and heating and air conditioning businesses.

Many moms who'd normally take their children to the park or the pool during the summer, for example, headed to Spotsylvania Mall and its KidsZone play area once the thermometer began to climb this week.

"Rather than take the kids home, you can come here for lunch, the kids can stay active and it's a nice, controlled temperature for them," said Matt Boarts, the mall's operations manager.

He said that traffic inside the mall always gets a bump after school lets out for the summer, but it's been up about 33 to 50 percent this week.

"It was pretty packed today," Boarts said.

Marquee Cinemas--Southpoint 9 in Massaponax has noticed a similar trend. It's usually bustling on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings during the summer when it screens kiddie movies for free. But it was about 30 percent busier than usual on Thursday as well.

"That's normal. That's summertime," said manager Chris Boggs. "That happens every year."

Seasonal business also has been booming over at Sammy T's Frozen Yogurt, 801 Caroline St. Tourists and local families alike have been coming in for their choice of the icy confections and various toppings since the mercury began to rise.

"Sales have increased at least $100 a day since the first of the week," said Jimmy Crisp, Sammy T's general manager.


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