Hayward Businesses Surviving Warm Winter

Snow Prediction Boosts Sales After Mild Month

Tourism and business are synonymous through much of the Northland. 

In the resort towns of Northwest Wisconsin business is seasonal—fishing and water sports when it’s warm, ice fishing and snow sports, when it’s cold—but this year the mild winter has kept the snow from falling, the lakes from freezing, and the usual suspects just aren’t around.

Snowmobile and Nordic ski trails that normally draw guests to resorts, and business to town haven’t been opened yet.

That has lead to cancelled reservations and decreased equipment rentals and sales.

Joel Harrison is a co-owner of New Moon Ski and Bike in Hayward.

New moon specializes in items like Nordic ski equipment, road cycles and fat tire bikes.

The store had seen soft December sales until Monday’s storm warning was released.

“Today’s been crazy,” Harrison said. “I think people are in a hurry to get in and get their stuff before they get snowed in, maybe.” 

December’s sales drop wasn’t entirely bad for Hayward, the mild weather functioned as an extended fall season for businesses like the Moccasin Bar and Wildlife Museum.

The Moccasin is currently up for sale, but only because owner Bernie Tworke is finally ready to retire at age 82.

Tworke said Monday, despite the decrease in traffic from winter sport enthusiasts, the Moccasin’s business is still up around 66% over last year. 

Hayward is a resort town, and like all resort towns it is always open for business.

That business can be overwhelming at times, when hundreds and thousands of people descend on small town all at once.

“I think it’s hard for small shops and restaurants to get ready for that,” Harrison said.

“Just because the business when it does come–it’s so busy you almost can’t keep up.”

That’s why the December slowdown is a welcomed rarity for some in the area, who can finally take a breath after a long and fruitful summer season.

Business owners like Tworke and Harrison know the break won’t last long, though.

The snow, though, is certain to fall at some point and the skiers, snowmobilers, and ice fisherman will flood the town and business will be fast and furious once again.

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