BizBeat: Summer is coming, frozen treat shops agree

Tim Strope, right, hands a freshly scooped cup of ice cream to a customer while working the counter at the Central Dairy Ice Cream Shop in Jefferson City on Friday.

Tim Strope, right, hands a freshly scooped cup of ice cream to a customer while working the counter at the Central Dairy Ice Cream Shop in Jefferson City on Friday. Photo by Kris Wilson.

Sixty degree weather in January isn’t exactly the norm. But in Missouri, it isn’t exactly unheard of either.

Anytime the weather decides to move out of “winter” temperatures, a line can usually be seen outside Central Dairy. This, however, happens throughout the year.

With yo-yo like temperatures, there is one sure sign that summer is indeed just around the corner in Jefferson City — Sno Biz is opening.

The shaved ice business located along Missouri Boulevard has been waiting for temperatures to average around 70 degrees before opening for the season. Owner Kolbi Ward said she and her husband, Doug, have been ready to open since March, but have held off until the weather cooperates.

The summer shop will open up this week any day that reaches 70 degrees.

“Until school gets out, we’ll probably open around 3 or 3:30 p.m. if it (the weather) is nice,” Ward noted.

Sno Biz will open for the weekend, starting Friday evening, no matter the weather. Ward said, if in doubt, check their Facebook page to see if they’re open for the day. “We’ll post any day we’ll be open.”

Sno Biz will eventually be open seven days a week from noon-10 p.m. Since the business relies on nice weather, Ward said they are already behind last year by nearly a month.

Other local treat shops also rely on the weather, but since they have an indoor space for customers, they aren’t quite as dependent.

Central Dairy employee Ashley Rolling said the busy season started pretty early this year. And the dipping temperatures didn’t make too much of a dent.

With the Legislature in session, “we’ve had tons of field trips,” Rolling noted.

Although Central Dairy sees an increased business during warmer weather, they keep the same hours all year round, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays. The ice cream shop does hire extra workers, having between seven and eight employees scooping up a variety of flavors at any given time.

As downtown frozen yogurt shop Yo-Yums prepares to enter its third summer season, owner Kevin Kemna said the change in temperatures makes a big difference in his business.

Kemna noted that rainy and cold days, as well as days that are too hot, drive customers away. As soon as warm and sunny temperatures stick around, Yo-Yums will hire a couple extra employees. They’ve already extended their hours for the season, adding Mondays to the schedule.

“We start extending our hours in March through October,” Kemna noted. The local business may also extend weekend hours, but hasn’t made the final decision yet. “Our business is pretty much between April and August,” he related. Yo-Yums is now serving up frozen yogurt seven days a week.

Located in the Wildwood Crossing, Cold Stone Creamery has also extended its hours for summer. Employee Ryan Cranford said the ice cream shop has started staying open one hour later, until 10 p.m., on Thursday through Saturdays. Eventually, the shop will extend its closing time until 10 p.m. seven days a week. Hiring extra workers was also on their list of spring to-dos.

“We have a nice full crew for the summer,” Cranford said.

Cold Stone agrees weather is a major factor in traffic. Cranford noted that even the sun coming out for part of the day makes a difference. “There is a definite correlation in weather and the number of customers we get,” he said.

Whether rain or shine, these businesses, as well as others in the area, will be serving up nice cold treats for the summer. One can only hope that Mother Nature figures out what season this is.

Know of any business happenings around town? Let us know at bizbeat@newstribune.com.

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