‘It’s steady as long as the rain stays away’

Weather-wary busi­ness folk hop­ing for warmer weather as sum­mer rolls along

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - cshan­non@cb­post.com BY CHRIS SHAN­NON

It’s far from the dog days of sum­mer but lo­cal fast-food eater­ies seem to be giv­ing the sea­son to date a pass­ing grade.

“It’s steady as long as the rain stays away,” said Pat Smith, coowner of J.A. Smitty’s Can­teen in Open Hearth Park.

She said the slow start to the sea­son, in­clud­ing per­sis­tent rainy, cool weather through­out June, kept peo­ple in­side.

On Satur­day, it was mostly sunny with a high of 22 C. It wasn’t hot but it was enough to at­tract a large crowd to the play­ground and splash pad in the park.

There was a lineup mid-af­ter­noon at Smith’s can­teen. The four staff mem­bers were scur­ry­ing around the kitchen pre­par­ing food and bev­er­ages for cus­tomers.

“It’s a sea­sonal busi­ness and it goes with the good weather. It’s busy any day the sun is out,” she said.

The eatery opened May 15, but the bulk of the rev­enue will come dur­ing July and Au­gust.

Traf­fic slows down af­ter chil­dren head back to school in Septem­ber. The can­teen, which has a con­tract with the park, re­mains open un­til Oct. 15.

“You have your bad days and your good days, but it’s worth it for the peo­ple down here. They need some­thing down here.”

At the Bay­side Drive-in, lo­cated in River Ryan, owner Liz Mu­sial said busi­ness has been “OK, but not great.”

She said it’s about on par with traf­fic seen by this time in 2014.

Last year, the drive-in opened about a month later than nor­mal be­cause it re­ceived dam­age from an early spring snow­storm.

Mu­sial said the weather has also been a driv­ing fac­tor for her busi­ness.

“We find it a lit­tle slower be­cause of the weather,” she said.

The can­teen re­ceives its reg­u­lars and teenagers on warm evenings, and it should be see­ing tourists driv­ing through at this point in the sea­son as well, she said.

On the Syd­ney wa­ter­front, the Chill Zone ice cream ven­dor saw ex­tra board­walk traf­fic due to the large crowd at the nearby Syd­ney Ribfest on the marine ter­mi­nal prop­erty.

Em­ployee Brit­tany Bon­nar had a steady line of cus­tomers through the af­ter­noon.

The Chill Zone re­lo­cated to the Syd­ney board­walk in June af­ter the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity sold Archibald Wharf in North Syd­ney where the ice cream shop had been lo­cated.

CHRIS SHAN­NON/CAPE BRE­TON POST

It was a con­sis­tently long lineup at the J.A. Smitty’s Can­teen in Open Hearth Park on Satur­day. It was a slow start to the sea­son with cool and rainy sum­mer days, but owner Pat Smith says busi­ness is pick­ing up as the weather warms up.

CHRIS SHAN­NON/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Brit­tany Bon­nar, an em­ployee of the Chill Zone on the Syd­ney board­walk, passes a cone to a cus­tomer Satur­day. The nearby Syd­ney Ribfest at­tracted a greater num­ber of peo­ple along the board­walk over the week­end.

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