State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Ice and Snow Means Cold Cash for Area Businesses

by and on February 02, 2014 1:45 PM

On a frigid day in State College, shoppers flocked to downtown shops looking for something to keep them warm.

Some shoppers needed a new pair of boots. For others, it was a heavier jacket. For some, it was something simple, like wool socks or thicker gloves.

At Appalachian Outdoors, Ashley Harman of State College was on a mission — to find a new pair of gloves.

"It's awful, it's terribly cold," she said. "I hate winter, absolutely hate winter. We're not used to it being this cold. You can get all bundled up and you're still cold. It's miserable."

As she pored over dozens of pairs of gloves, Harman admitted that the gloves were a birthday present to herself.

"I needed a new pair of gloves, so I thought I'd look for a pair for my birthday. It's coming up," she said with a laugh.

Mindy Weidow of State College came along to look for gloves as well. She grew up in Bradford, which is located in northern Pennsylvania, so she's used to brutal winters. She hasn't seen anything quite like this, however.

"I grew up in Bradford, where it's much colder," she said. "To have this (weather) here is a little shocking."

Since the calendar turned to 2014, Mother Nature has hammered much of the state with brutal winds, snow and icy conditions.

"It's just brutal," Weidow said. "I don't think anyone can get used to it."

Late Friday afternoon, students bundled up before heading to class. There are several coffee shops along College Avenue and those were packed with students and residents alike.

Frank Thomas and his wife, Regina, were visiting State College from Valley Forge, Pa. They were a bit shocked by the frigid temperatures.

"It seems colder here," Frank said. "Believe me, we've got snow and ice near us, but I don't think it's nearly as cold. It's seems 15-20 degrees colder in State College."

However, as they sipped on coffee at Irving's Bagels, the Thomases said they were in it for the long haul.

"We're big Penn State fans," Regina said. "Diehards. We can deal with the cold. We sat through the (Nebraska) game in November. We've been planning this weekend for a few weeks now."

The Shoe Box, located at 214 E. College Ave. in State College was busy on Friday afternoon. Most who stopped in were shopping for boots. Heavy, warm and waterproof were the keys for most shoppers.

Have the recent record lows sent shoppers scurrying for new boots?

"Definitely," said Courtney Hupp, manager at The Shoe Box. "Obviously, during winter, people are buying boots ... anything from fashion boots to UGGS to snowboots. Particularly, in the past few weeks, people have gone away from the more fashion styles to looking specifically for something waterproof and warm as well."

According to Hupp, keeping the feet warm is extremely important when temperatures dip into the single digits and below zero.

"It's so important. Your feet help regulate your body temperature," she said. "For me, I know it's incredibly valuable. If my feet are cold, then I'm not comfortable at all."

She said that UGGS are very popular because of the warmth involved with the fur lining. People are also accessorizing their boots.

"We've sold a lot of SmartWool socks," she said. "You can put those into a regular boot and it will help keep you warm."

As far as the clientele is concerned, both men and women have come out in droves to purchase new boots and footwear.

"It's both," Hupp said of the shoppers. "Everyone wants to be warm."

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Chris Morelli is the managing editor of The Centre County Gazette.
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