Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rain, sun or snow, businesses ready

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Cottage-country retailers hope cabin fever sweeps through Manitoba in time for the May long weekend.

Thicker-than-normal ice on the lake, questions about running water and a late start to the spring could keep some cottage owners in the city.

Karin Brisco, owner of the Birchwood Motor Hotel, north of Grand Beach on Highway 59, said the sunny forecast for the weekend should keep cash registers ringing.

"We never really know until the day before the long weekend what's going to happen. People really wait until the last minute to book anything because of the weather but most of our rooms are already booked on Saturday so it looks like people are coming out," she said.

Joelle Breed, assistant general manager of Lake of the Woods Brewing Co., which operates The Tap Room restaurant/pub in Kenora, Ont., will be happy if Monday night's snowfall has been quickly forgotten. "The weather has been very unco-operative this spring," she said.

Many Kenora residents go camping on the Victoria Day long weekend but with chilly temperatures expected at night, she's betting most of them will stay in town.

"I think we'll have an OK weekend for business. We won't be able to open the patio if it's cold out, that's been a killer for us. We just opened our patio last weekend. That has put us so far behind," she said.

Colin Roy, owner of Hillside Building Supply at Traverse Bay Corner, said this weekend is the traditional start to a crazy season, regardless of the weather.

"We cram in a whole year of business into six months," he said. "This is when the big rush starts. You fill up all your shelves and hope everybody comes out. Then you put your head down and go until the fall."

Roy said he's expecting lots of decking material and plumbing parts to be sold this weekend.

"We've had blizzards on the May long weekend four times in the last 20 years and people have still come out," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 14, 2014 A3

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