How Does the Weather Affect Your Business?

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Posted Wed, Mar 19, 2014

Jim Michaels is the manager of the Green Mountain King Soopers, 12043 West Alameda Parkway Lakewood,. It appears that Michaels and King Soopers have a contingency plan for every weather and non-weather event that could impact store #40.  [Photo by Pamela   Barcheski]

Jim Michaels, manager of the Green Mountain King Soopers, 12043 West Alameda Parkway Lakewood, says King Soopers have a contingency plan for every weather and non-weather event that could impact store #40. [Photo by Pamela Barcheski]

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Jim Michaels is the manager of the Green Mountain King Soopers, 12043 West Alameda Parkway Lakewood. Michaels and King Soopers have a contingency plan for every weather and non-weather event that could impact store #40. After working in the grocery business for over 20 years, Michaels is a skilled prognosticator.

Food sales are seasonally determined. They may run a spring sale on strawberries. But if the strawberries freeze in the California fields, the price will increase. Summer features a lot of grilling. Cold brings comfort foods like soup or pot roast. Most of the food stocked by King Soopers is seasonally and circumstantially dictated. When the Hayman fire polluted the reservoirs with burned houses, the water didn’t taste good enough to drink. King Soopers and other retailers stocked up on bottled water.

The shoppette where King Soopers is located is not owned by them, so the owner contracts out its snow removal service. When the forecast is for 2-4 or 3-5 inches of snow, this King Soopers gets very busy. The next day, when it is snowing, business will actually slow down. If a major storm is coming, King Soopers becomes extremely busy. Customers empty the Red Box of its’ entertaining contents, 3.2 beer sales increase and liquor stores such as Norman’s in the shopette do a brisk business. The bottom line — snow is great for King Sooper’s bottom line.

If it is very cold or very hot, customers like to stop by King Soopers on the way home from work, pick-up what they want, and then go straight home. Sunday is the store’s busiest day of the week. Saturday is their second busiest day. On Sundays, customers go to church and then stop by King Soopers on the way home. On holidays such as Valentine’s Day, customers stop by the store to grab their flowers and candy for loved ones.

During the Broncos Playoff and Super Bowl, customers packed the store before the games and loaded up on avocadoes, steaks, soft drinks, mixers, eggs, salty snacks, fruit salad and more. Rarely is the weather bad enough to keep the football aficionados away. With eight core departments overseen by managers and assistants, they know every detail of what will be purchased. The customer who spends $40 on a Sunday will spend only $20 on a Tuesday. If the weather is too hot or too cold, that will affect egg and meat production, and the prices will reflect that. The drought the west has experienced the last few years has caused cattlemen to sell off their herds, because fields of grazing grass are dried up and feed is too expensive. At this time beef, especially steak is more expensive than ever. The food business has always been intertwined with the weather, but bad weather in the city and suburbs is good business for grocers. Just ask Michaels.

Interestingly, manager Monica Kelly’s response at Costco was consistent with King Soopers’ response. If it snows outside, business will increase 30 percent. When it stops snowing, business will then decrease by 30 percent In the meantime, they salt generously around the building so their profits are not eaten up by legal bills. Costco hires a contractor to plow the large parking lot before the 6 a.m. employees show up. No plowing is done when employees or customers are present. Monica said she had plenty of experience with this because she comes from Montana where it can get -30 to -60.

“The store stocks more shovels and salt and places them on the end caps,” Monica explained. “East coast stores have sometimes been closed because they’re not used to it (a lot of snow). This store (S.W. Denver) might have been closed one time.”

If the weather is very bad, some employees will call in. Some just ask to go home. Summer is never a problem. The building and the land is owned by Costco, including the gas station. The Christmas holidays are the most profitable time of year. The week before Christmas Costco sold $875,000 worth of goods and services. Twenty-30 percent of that was cash and the rest was credit and debit. Merry Christmas Costco!

Some true stories just repeat themselves. Manager Lisa Curtis said if inclement weather is coming, it gets busy at Sam’s Club. Lighting Mobile, an independent contractor pre-treats the parking lot with a gravel/salt mixture as soon as the snow is 1 inch deep. Business is especially busy before the Christmas Holidays. The day before Christmas, last-minute shoppers wait in line to buy presents and food for their holiday parties. Snow or no snow, the customers show up for Christmas. They also show up for 4th of July picnics and parties. You can buy safe fireworks for kids for the Fourth of July, hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, chips, ice cream and don’t forget the ketchup.

What if during one of those July days there’s a tornado watch? Where should the customers go? “This is a strong concrete block building,” Curtis said. “Probably the center of the floor by the clothes would be a good place.”

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About Pamela Barcheski

I am a student at Metro State.

View all posts by Pamela Barcheski

3 Responses to “How Does the Weather Affect Your Business?”

  1. Dylan Palm-Trujillo Says:

    Great Job! I like that when the weather changes so does grocery store prices.

    Reply

  2. Travis Foster Says:

    Good job writing the story about the weather! I like how you made this story interesting and not boring when regarding the weather. I like how you mentioned the days the businesses are busiest on and how the snow helps gain customers. I also like how you talked to multiple businesses and not just one business. Overall this was a well-written story.

    Reply

  3. Kevin Sanchez Says:

    The story is a little hard to follow at times, it jumbles around on weather and prizes, also a nitpick but i always got in trouble by Shaun when i did it, in paragraph 3, “The shoppette where King Soopers is located is not owned by them, so the owner contracts out its snow removal service,” I don’t know who is them, so don’t include that and include the person behind them.

    Reply

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