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Summer heat impacts local businesses

Posted at 6:59 PM, Jun 30, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) — With a heat advisory in place, businesses in the Big Bend are starting to feel the impacts of the weather.

The owner of local ice cream truck Momma P's Tasha Pizarro said not as many people are showing up at her truck because it's just too hot outside.

"I call it hibernating. Everybody is in the house, air conditioning on, the windows are closed, watching T-V, in the cool," Pizarro said.

Pizarro said the summer heat is keeping people indoors when she drives through their neighborhood.

"They may not hear me or they may just say 'you know what, even though we love Momma P, it's just so hot outside,'" Pizarro said.

Pizarro said during the summer months she loses about 50% of her neighborhood sales due to the summer heat.

To avoid that heat, people are pumping their air conditioners non-stop keeping businesses Barineau Heating and Air on the go.

"This time of year, the call volume triples than what it does in the springtime and really it's people who are starting to see their A-C units not keep up with the outside temperature as it rises," Patrick Barineau said.

It can be expensive to stay cool during those summer months, with the Edison electric institute estimating the average American spends 50% of their electric bill on AC alone.

To lower your bill, you can turn up your AC by just one degree, turn on the fan and even by just closing your blinds.

For some, a few dollars off their bill is not enough.

That's why the Tallahassee Salvation Army is stepping in with their utility assistance program, paying some bills for people on fixed incomes.

Brittany Christie works for the agency and said they have seen the number of people needing help with utility bills go up.

"Say someone is having a hard time paying their utilities and a car repair," Christie said. "We're wanting to get a very clear understanding of what that hardship is to identify individuals who have the most need."

While you would think business would be hot for an ice cream truck this time of the year, Pizarro is looking forward to cooler days.

"We will be looking forward to when the temperatures cool down but we just keep on keeping on throughout the year," Pizarro said.

While most of Pizarro's sales happen in the Fall around November, she said summer camp sales are keeping her going through these hot months.