Alle-Kiski Valley businesses ready for onslaught of folks trying to beat the heat
Stanford Home Center in Allegheny Township ran out of air conditioners early Friday, but only momentarily, as other stores stocked up on water and beverages and braced for the rush as residents cope with uncharacteristic searing temperatures.
“We’ve been selling air conditioners like crazy,” said Stewart Claypool, one of the managers at the Stanford Home Center. Earlier Friday, Patty Aikins, customer service manager, reported the store was out and waiting for a new shipment.
Although the supply of fans seemed ample early Friday afternoon situated next to the air conditioners just inside the store’s front door, Claypool said he expects the supply to take a hit with continued strong demand.
For the first time in seven years, the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the Pittsburgh region that is in place Friday and through 8 p.m. Saturday.
The heat index may be up to 104 degrees, caused by temperatures in the lower 90s and dew points in the lower 70s. The dew point is a measure of humidity; anything 70 or above in considered to be particularly uncomfortable.
Cases of water and other beverages are popular items at supermarkets. And ice cream stands, such as
Glen’s Custard in Lower Burrell, is prepared for a rush of traffic.
Jeff Syster, owner of Westmoreland Heating and Cooling in Greensburg, said he expects to field calls for air conditioning repairs around the clock over the weekend. He said regular maintenance of units, like replacing filters, can help eliminate issues when they are working harder during hot weather.
The public can’t get enough ice during this hot spell and is buying more of it — just like they would milk and eggs for an impending winter storm, according to Joanie Wilson, an office manager for Home City Ice, which is headquartered in Cincinnati and has a plant in Harmar.
“Their icemakers aren’t holding up to the task at hand,” Wilson said. Home City sells to supermarkets, convenience stores, Dollar Generals, gas stations and elsewhere.
Glen’s Custard in Lower Burrell is offering slushies with a scoop of its well-known frozen custard. But the custard remains the popular item with flavors such as brownie sundae and gourmet caramel cookie dough, according to manager Daisha Keys.
Keys expects a nonstop stream of customers.
“Sales almost double when it’s hot,” she said, “Once it’s after 6 p.m., sales really go up.”
Stores can’t go wrong stocking up on the basics: think water and more beverages.
Golden Dawn in New Kensington had a pallet with cases of water on display early Friday to greet shoppers; it’s on sale, two for $5 until Wednesday.
“When it gets hot, older clientele, they shop early in the morning,” according to Michael Moses, store manager. Business was a little busier than usual Friday morning, he reported.
Giant Eagle stores throughout the region have seen “slight lifts in beverage sales” due to the hot weather, according to Dick Roberts, company spokesman. However, customer response “does not match the incremental store traffic we see during winter weather events,” he observed.
Giant Eagle plans to keep beverages and other popular summer items like ice cream and fruit well stocked.
Not surprising, attendance was up Friday and is expected to surge at local pools into Saturday.
Pool managers at Bouquet Park Pool in Springdale said they had their highest attendance Friday, while a great crowd was reported Friday with more expected on Saturday at the Joseph A. Petrarca Memorial Park and Pool in Vandergrift.
Sylvan Park Pool in Harrison had an average Friday, but attendance was expected to rise for a Friday night movie and swim.
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .