Short Minn. Summer Hurts Lake Businesses

Updated: 09/03/2013 7:44 AM By: Katherine Johnson

Nothing lasts forever, especially not summer in Minnesota.  Few know that better than the business owners around Lake Minnetonka.

"Right away in the morning people started calling and telling me it was cold," Bay Rentals Owner Ken Pittel said.

Pittel came into work on Labor Day only to find 12 cancellations, leaving his jet skis stacked on the trailers for another day.  It's a sight he's been familiar with since June when business was down 50 percent.

"We need the revenue because we had a poor spring, and so it does hurt when everything's down," he said.

Lake Minnetonka Boat Club and Rentals estimates they lost 30 percent of business this summer due to the cold start.

At Bayside Grill in Excelsior, you can't find anyone without a sweatshirt.  They've almost made up for the slow start now thanks to indoor seating. But the Lake Minnetonka restaurant is reducing its hours, starting Sept. 3, marking the end of the summer season.

Some boats are already headed into storage at Rockvam Boat Yards. Workers say they're usually booked through the summer months in advance, but this year there were always boats available. On Labor Day, the docks were nearly full.

"See if we can get it to warm up a little bit and we'll be in great shape!" Owner Jerry Rockvam said.

But the weather is the one thing these business owners just can't control.

"Mother Nature is the boss in the business, and you can't do anything about that," Pittel said.

Most lake businesses are offering special deals and discounts to make as much as they can while they still can.