Warm weather brings much needed customers to Victoria businesses

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WatchFinally the hot weather has arrived here on the Island. Environment Canada says today and Sunday and Monday will be the warmest we've seen this summer. Some businesses say it's a major relief, bringing in the customers they desperately need. Julian Kolsut has this story.

As some of the highest temperatures hit the Island Sunday and Monday, some businesses are getting a much-needed boost after a streak of poor weather.

“This year started off very challenging,” said Mark Bitz, manager of Ocean River Sports. “We always open up our rentals in May for the most part, but in May and June, no mystery to Victoria people it was windy unpredictable weather. We didn’t know what was happening one day to the next.”

Like many businesses, Ocean River Sports already faced a huge drop in tourism because of COVID-19.

But with the sun finally shining – along with the itch to get out – more and more are being pushed to pick up a paddle.

“Our tour business really was 75 per cent out of country business,” said Bitz. “We are still offering tours for the local folks but really our lessons are almost sold out for July and August and our rentals are really off the hook too.”

“It’s kind of felt like an eternal fall,” said customer Kris Westendorp. “We are pretty stoked to have some real summer.”

Rentals aren’t the same, but it’s not stopping anyone.

“We have sanitizing stations complementary to Phillips Brewing,” said Bitz. “Every boat gets washed down in between and sanitized. All the paddles, the same, and our PFD’s, we have enough paddles and touchable’s on the dock that they are never used for two sessions in a row.”

Joe Macneill of the Beacon Hill Drive-In said it is nice to finally have some warm weather, after a slow and cooler June and early July.

“We are just finally getting some greet weather now,” said Macneill. “We were certainly hurting a bit in June and July, this week it has sort of picked up which is nice, and hopefully the nice weather brings lots of people.”

As COVID-19 has had a huge financial impact on many local businesses, particularly those in hospitality, tourism and food service, many businesses’ are relying on the support of local customers for survival. The money they make now will help them last through the winter.

“We are certainly happy for everybody that is coming and supporting local business,” said Macneill. “We’ve been here for a long time and we appreciate all the business we are getting.”

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