What to do when the Northeast gives you the cold shoulder

Cheryl Yennaco

As you might remember from our past Expos, this past winter was very cold in the Northeast, bringing record levels of snow and very cold temperatures. As anyone from this area for any amount of time knows, an unseasonably cold winter + long startup to summer makes for a very slow spring start for many in awning and marine businesses.

 But now that summer is in full force (weather-wise) it’s a good time to examine how seasonal canvas businesses can do better when there are extreme temperatures that can affect our season and annual gross revenues. 

Is Climate Change A Factor?

Many of us are asking how “global warming” could be real when the North East experienced such cold temperatures this past winter. After all, how can the earth be warmer when Boston’s famous snow pile didn’t melt until mid-July!

But “global warming” isn’t about just “warm” temperatures. The meteorological effect known as “climate change” refers to the change in temperatures in areas due to the overall warming temperatures of our planet

Examinations of data from climate scientists have explained that the changing temperatures may be affecting the jet stream, which changes the way weather patterns form over some areas (like ours). If these changes continue, there could be variations in the length and severity of Northeast winters for years to come. While for some areas this means warmer temperatures or rising ocean levels, in the North East, this is likely to mean continued change in the jet stream flow which could result in colder and longer winters.

How Can My Awning Business Survive?

The first thing many warm-weather businesses worry about is that a shorter or colder season may mean less need for our products. But colder temperatures does not mean that your awning business is doomed. In fact, it might be just the thing to help expand your business!

My friends over at IFAI tell me that there are more awning companies in Montreal than in Boston. Considering that Montreal’s average annual temperature is only 53F, as compared to Boston’s 59F, you might wonder question why Canadians are so afraid of the sun!  

But Montreal fabricators do not focus on “shade structures” alone, they think of “all weather structures” that help to protect from sun as well as rain and other weather elements. By opening up their offerings to include shelter from rain, snow and cold winds, Canadians are able to enjoy outdoor spaces for more of their very cold year, despite less-than-hospitable conditions.

At Atlantic Awning, many of our structures are fixed frames that are designed to provide snow cover in the winter as well as shade protection in the summer. We also help our customers expand their outdoor space with vestibules, screen enclosures and wind barriers. We predominantly work with canvas and aluminum frames, but we also take on projects with more durable roof and siding materials, when needed, to ensure we provide our customer with the most appropriate solution for their need. 

If you’re worried about how your awning business will survive another season like 2015, look North for some ideas. Think about expanding your product areas to cover more than shade and see how you can help your customers love their outdoor space whether it’s warm or not!

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