Hot stocks: Ice cream sales up, nurseries suffer

Posted July 8, 2012 7:07 p.m. EDT
Updated July 8, 2012 10:54 p.m. EDT

— The record-setting string of 100-degree days in the Triangle has meant a business boom for Yummy Monkey, an ice cream and frozen yogurt shop in Raleigh.

Chaz Evans says sales have been up about 60 percent this week over last as Raleigh endured nine days with triple-digit temperatures. "Our biggest seller as far as ice cream is probably the Carolina Crunch," he said.

For other small businesses, the heat has meant a more rocky road. 

Joshua Logan is the third generation of his family to work at Logan Trading Company, a garden and landscape supplier in Raleigh's Seaboard Station. He has seen sales wilt. "As hot as it is outdoors, not as many people are as interested in being out in their garden," Logan said.

But fewer customers does not necessarily mean less work for Logan. Where his crew would water once on a typical summer Sunday, they watered three times this week. That means additional labor costs added to his bottom line.

"I know we've had bursts of hot weather, but this is definitely the most intense we've had that I can remember," Logan said. 

The National Weather Service agrees. It has recorded a daily high temperature at Raleigh-Durham International Airport of 105 degrees three times this summer. Before 2012, the Triangle reached that mark only on three occasions, but never more than once in a single season.

Evans is able to take it in stride. "It's just part of summer culture, especially down south," he said. "Who doesn't like homemade ice cream?"

Doctors at WakeMed warned those who spent time out in the heat to wash even ice cream down with water to avoid dehydration. They have treated more than three dozen people for symptoms of heat-related illnesses over the past week.

The most popular choice was simply to stay indoors and enjoy the air conditioning. Jessica Lambert, a spokeswoman for Progress Energy, said power usage had been high through the weekend, but had not approached peak capacity and customers need not worry about losing power.