Never-Ending Winter Weather Hurting Iowa Businesses

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  This seemingly never-ending winter isn't just annoying, it's also affecting businesses and their ability to make money.

"This is my 49th year and probably one of the unusual I've ever had," said Lucille Vannoy of Lucille's Garden Center in Bondurant. Vannoy has been in business for decades, and has seen a lot of Iowa winters.

"I've had bad years of snow and stuff, but this is really different," she said.

Winter is supposed to be over by now, but it won't seem to go away, which is having an impact on business.

"It's affected tremendously," said Vannoy. "Usually, by this time of the year, we'd have a lot of stuff outside. We'd have our perennials out. We'd really be moving in April, but this year it's nothing."

With weather like the kind we've been experiencing, Vannoy and her family have to keep everything inside.

"I have shrubs and trees and roses that would be out front, (in a) normal year," said Vannoy. "This year, nothing."

Customers want the Garden Center to open already, but the weather simply has not allowed for that.

"They call and say, 'when are you gonna be open, Lucille' or, 'can we stop by? When's it gonna be?' I have calls every day, 'when you gonna be open?'"

The wintry weather is also having a negative impact on business at the Mucky Duck Pub in Ames.

"This will be our third year starting this season, if this season ever starts," said Marcus Johnson, the pub's owner.

Johnson went to great lengths to have a patio where customers could bring their dogs while they enjoyed some drinks.

"One of the things that was important to me, which is common in the UK, is to allow dogs on the patio, and as it turns out there was rules against that, but I went through a lot of effort with the state of Iowa and managed to get a variance," said Johnson.

However, because the weather stinks, patrons have not been able to take advantage of the patio so far this spring.

"The weather has really cramped our style," said Johnson. "Normally, the trivia leaks over, extends onto the patio. We normally have a full house inside and a full patio, but of course, apart from one brave group of four people a couple of weeks ago, we've had absolutely nobody out here. As you can see it's looking pretty desolate."