The up side of rain: It's good for clothing sales

Posted: Thursday, August 02, 2001

An unusually wet July meant increased sales of rain gear for Juneau merchants.

"I'd say we were up about 15 percent," said Ron Flint, managing partner at Nugget Alaskan Outfitter in the Nugget Mall. "We don't get visitors like they do downtown, but we get the people who work in the visitor industry who are on the docks and elsewhere. They come in and have to gear up."

Total precipitation for July at the Juneau Airport was 7.26 inches, about 3 inches above normal, said National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Tschantz. The total was upped significantly by heavy rainfall on July 22. About 2.39 inches were recorded at the airport - the highest daily rainfall total on record for July.

"It was just a wetter than normal pattern," said Tschantz. "Last year we had 6.65 inches of rain for the month."

Total rainfall this year is 31.51 inches, 6.5 inches above normal but slightly less than last year's January-through-July total of 32.15 inches.

Packable rain gear and perennial favorites such as Helly Hansen are among the brands that have sold well at the Nugget Alaskan Outfitter, Flint said.

"We've got a lot of different styles of raincoats, so it's really hard to single out one style," he added. "Obviously the lighter-weight stuff in the summer."

Betsy Fischer, owner of the Foggy Mountain Shop downtown, also said the heavy rain led to an increase in sales of gear.

"We have a fairly steady business," she said. "We certainly experience a little more when it's very rainy as it's been this past year. I wouldn't say we've seen a significant surge because the locals know that even when the weather's nice it's going to rain eventually."

Foggy Mountain's sales of summer items are slightly lower than usual, she added.

"Those sales are a bit down, but we get those optimists," Fischer said. "I call them the eternal optimists. (They) come in on rainy days and buy shorts and sandals."

Despite the impact on business, James King of Trail Mix said Juneau's hiking trails didn't seem to be affected by the rain.

"A lot of our trails have water and mud on them whether it rains a little bit or a lot," King said. "It hasn't really affected trails that much. It might have affected the number of users that went out on them."

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