By Danielle Duggan
Clinton County Chatter
ST. JOHNS — The end of spring brings preparation for summer sales among various businesses in Clinton County. With the release of students from school and the coming of warmer temperatures, businesses plan early in hope of increasing funds and customers for summer services.
Some businesses begin the process of exchanging winter merchandise for summer merchandise in the spring. Shaggie’s, an ice cream store located at 110 N. Clinton Ave., St. Johns, has already begun this process.
“We change a little bit with our product line because in the winter with the ice cream we were just doing hand-dipped. Now we’ve opened the complete menu so we’re doing the flurries and the shakes and the whole deal,” said manager of Shaggie’s, Michelle Thompson.
Gill-Roy’s Got It! Hardware Store, located at 300 N. Clinton Ave., St. Johns has begun the product-changing process as well.
“We pretty much rotate just about everything in the store it seems like,” said owner Ed Brandon. “We bring lawnmowers out, fertilizers, fertilizer spreader, birdseed, bird feeders, everything that’s popular thing time of year. We put away the snow shovels, salt, ice scrapers, that kind of thing.”
According to Brandon, the store is busier in the summer and early spring. Due to this, businesses increase staffing and hire more employees to prepare.
“We’re really staffing up,” said Thompson. “[We are] printing more applications and really getting really set with having a good, well-rounded schedule so no one is freaking out about too many hours…going into finals [for] the college kids. For me, a lot of it is staffing.”
According to Bonnie Knutson, Michigan State University business expert, staffing changes are among the largest that businesses make to prepare for summer.
“We don’t buy products,” said Knutson. “We buy benefits.”
Knutson said that a summer staff must be prepared to inform the customer of the benefits of a product and be well aware of the difference between these items and their winter products.
Brandon isn’t the only one whose shop sees more customers in the summer. Thompson said that more customers have come to Shaggie’s to get ice cream due to the warm temperatures in the past summer months.
“I’ll eat ice cream at any time of the year, but I definitely get it more in the summer,” said customer, Allie DiSanto. “It’s something to help me cool down in the hot weather.”
Hours of operation are also extended.
“In the winters we’re closed on Sundays so with our hours of operation we extend a bit too,” said Thompson.
Meanwhile, Briggs Public Library, located at 108 E. Railroad St., St. Johns, instead of
preparing for an increase in customers, is doing work to prepare for summer programs.
“[We are] picking out the books for the story time. We have a program with science, art, and math, so they’re working on the crafts and the projects for those,” said Trisha Cramer, library assistant. “We’re getting the reading logs ready; we’re making those ourselves, contacting vendors, we get Taco Bell certificates when kids sign up or Shaggie’s, so contacting local businesses to prepare for that.”