Cold Cash Frigid Weather Heats Up Some Area Businesses

Article excerpt

Cold weather puts a freeze on some businesses, especially outdoor businesses.

But when the temperature falls, owners of some businesses rub their hands.

Take Star Video, which operates four outlets in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

"We've been busy all day," co-owner Karen Terrell said Friday. "It's too cold to play outside, and it's too cold to go out to dinner. But it takes only 10 minutes to pick out a movie."

Terrell said that for her business, the only better weather was snow. "Snow makes a weekday look like a Saturday," she said. "But snow doesn't last as long as the cold. Cold snaps are great for us."

Cold snaps are also great for the pizza business - at least for the home-delivered side of the pizza business.

"People just won't go outside," said Carol Imo, an executive with the locally owned Imo's pizza chain. "They want their pizza delivered."

The cold cuts both ways with her chain, because many Imo's outlets offer sit-down dining. "On cold nights," Imo said, "the bulk of our business is home-delivered pizza."

Like Terrell of Star Video, Imo said snow boosted her business more than cold alone. Still, she said, "the cold does make a difference."

Famous-Barr reported that cold weather was a wash. A spokeswoman said, "Business is about the same, because for every shopper who stays home, another one comes out to buy cold-weather clothing."

"On cold-weather days, we sell a lot of cold-weather clothing like gloves, scarves, hats, boots, earmuffs, sweaters, coats - anything to keep warm," said the spokeswoman.

Businesses that cater to young adults said the cold made little difference - that their customers left the house no matter how low the temperature sank.

"Oh, they go to the movies," said Kimberly Stein of KSJ Entertainment, which operates 25 theaters in this area.

She described young adults as "diehard movie people, people who say, `Let's relax and go see a show. We're diehard movie people. We're going.' "

Similarly, bars that cater to the 20-something set see no drop in business in cold weather, said Matt McGuire of King Louie's, at 3800 Chouteau Avenue. …