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Mild winter helps some businesses, hurts others

A construction site is covered in snow a storm February 7, 2010 in Washington, DC. A mild winter has allowed for some sectors to get more business than usual.

Jeremy Hobson:Here in this country, it's been a very mild winter, and that's been good news for the economy. It's helping retail sales and employment in cities across the U.S.

From WCPN in Cleveland, Brian Bull reports.


Brian Bull: Dan Lenahan normally takes a two-week vacation to Florida every winter.  But the builder and contractor has been too busy so far this year.  He says calls have been steadily coming in for roofing, garages, additions, and other projects that normally would've had to wait until the spring thaw.

Dan Lenahan:  A lot of times, your masons -- they don't even come out.  But we haven't really had a deep freeze all winter. We were actually in the ground, we were working, and were able to use the excavator.

It's amazing what can be done when you're not contending with minus-30 wind chill and snowdrifts up to your waist.  But while builders are happy with the balmy spell, others are feeling the chill of unsold goods.  

Danielle DeBoe is co-owner of the clothing store Dredgers Union. She says she's stuck with dozens of coats, scarves, and hats.

Danielle DeBoe:  You buy those items eight months in advance. So you're anticipating that as a Cleveland, Ohio-based store, you can count own a full-blown winter.

But DeBoe says there is a bright side: the warm weather has brought more foot traffic to her store.  

In Cleveland, I'm Brian Bull for Marketplace.

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