Summer businesses expect to cash in

By Anna Carrera

Published 05/26 2014 05:42PM

Updated 05/27 2014 10:06AM

CHAMPAIGN -- Monday marks the unofficial first day of summer. After the brutal winter, summer businesses hope to make more money. People have been itching to get in their gardens and eat cold treats. With a day off Monday, a lot of people got to do that, which means summer businesses are seeing some extra green.

With winter officially behind us, it's time to get rid of the blues and bring home some greens, pinks and purples instead. People packed Prairie Gardens. Plant experts says it's a different kind of Memorial Day celebration for plants which didn't make it through the winter.

"We had a long, slow spring," said Mary Ann Metz, who is a horticulturalist at Prairie Gardens. "Really cool, really grey, so people are really anxious to get out and get in the gardens and it just wasn't happening. Finding things that died and had to be replaced."

It was warm in the greenhouse, but people like Metz say they won't complain about it just yet.

"I'm not going to today," said Metz. "I might later in the summer, but today I'm not because we've had such a cold time for the last several months."

"I'm so tired of the cold," said Camisha Hood, who is an assistant manager at Jarling's Custard Cup. "Summer's definitely the busiest time for us so hopefully business will be booming just as normal."

Across town, workers at Jarling's Custard Cup have been filling order after order. After a slow start to the season, business has heated up.

"Once the heat got here, it's been busy every single day," said Hood.

They expect it to get even busier as temperatures rise.

"The customers are really nice," said Hood. "I like the regulars that come in and always bring a smile with them, so it's good to see them."

Even though it's only the unofficial start to summer, business like this still tastes pretty sweet.

When you're thinking about where to spend your summer money, experts say it pays to stay local. More than 50 cents of every dollar you spend locally stays in the community. When you shop at chain stores, that goes down to about 16 cents.

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