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Sunday, Jun 4, 2023

Valley Companies Still Assessing Impact of Record Rain on Business

Most Valley residents probably remember the two weeks of holiday rain with a grimace, as the weather tied up roads, made driving even more hazardous than normal and made people wonder whether the sun would ever shine again. But while most commuters have by now gotten on with their daily routines, a few days after the last five-day storm finally blew over, its economic impact on local businesses is still being assessed. Some businesses can thank the inclement weather for extending their holiday shopping traffic. Parking lots at Valley malls were as full as they were during holiday shopping peaks. Randy Hargrove, spokesman for Blockbuster Video did not have specific information about increased traffic or sales at Los Angeles locations, but said he was hearing that business had been good. “Anytime there’s weather that would keep people indoors, snow or rain or something like that, it tends to be good for our business,” Hargrove said. He added that Blockbuster’s new policy eliminating late fees was also partly responsible for sales increases. Tony Mendola, manager of AMF Rocket Lanes, a bowling alley in Chatsworth said business picked up, but not at the rate he expected. “When it rains, we’re busier but it wasn’t as good as we had hoped,” Mendola said. “When it rains too hard, people don’t come out as much. They’re afraid to drive, the rain makes them a little more homebodied.” In all, malls and movie theatres saw business increase over the last few days while car washes, golf courses, restaurants and other outdoor attractions saw customers dwindle. Steve Elbaum, manager of Red Carpet Car Wash in Canoga Park, said that the business had been closed for two weeks during the storms. He said that closing for periods of time during the winter is standard, but this winter was the first time in six years that he’d been forced to close for two straight weeks. Elbaum said customers still haven’t begun to show up in their usual numbers. “It takes a seven day forecast of sun plus the sun coming out the following weekend,” he said. Elbaum said he expects sluggish sales to be the norm until at least this coming Saturday. While rainstorms are a regular concern for car washes and golf courses, the rain may have been much more damaging to the construction business. Last Wednesday, home builder Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. reported that the rain storms in California will hurt the company’s first-quarter earnings. The wet weather prevented the company from completing work during the first half of the month. Earnings will be lower than the expected $1.40 per share, the company reported, and its stock fell 0.6 percent on the announcement.

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