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Additional Daylight Saving Time boon to rec businesses

With the extra weeks of Daylight Saving Time, Congress may have given some businesses the gift of added income. Golf courses, tennis clubs, garden centers, outdoor outfitters and any businesses that sell goods and services that can take advantage of the added hours of daylight approve of the change that is part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The change went into effect for the first time March 11.

The legislation may have been designed to reduce energy consumption throughout the country, but some retailers say it will increase the output of human energy.

Pedal power

Joshua Gordon, manager of the Indian Cycle Store in Ridgeland, is pleased with the time change. “It certainly helps our business,” he said. “Now people are able to get out and start riding bikes after work. Then they need more accessories, and we sell more of those along with more bicycles.”

Traditionally, the cycling season gets cranking in mid-March, but this year with the nice weather and more daylight, he says the season is starting earlier. “We like to say that in the spring, a young man’s fancy turns to bicycles,” he said, “so the more daylight savings time we have, the better for us.”

Some popular types of bicycles this year are the hybrids that are designed for multi-use on pavement, trails and out on the Natchez Trace — the full suspension mountain bicycles and road bikes. Gordon says the hybrid bikes also sport a wider seat and upright handle bars that make them more comfortable, especially for those who don’t ride every day.

“We have a lot of customers who keep their bicycles at their offices on Highland Colony Parkway and get out and ride right after work, and we also have customers who ride their bicycles to work,” Gordon added. “The added daylight gives them the perfect opportunity to do that.”

Paddle power, too

Down in Harrison County, Joe Feil is beginning his 25th year in business with Wolf River Kayaks and Canoes. “Our season is just getting started, and the nice weather and more daylight savings time will definitely help,” he said. “I think we should have daylight savings time year round.”

Feil re-opened approximately a year ago after Hurricane Katrina, and had a lot of volunteer groups renting from him for excursions on the Wolf River. He hopes other groups who’re helping rebuild the Coast will do the same this year. He lost his 80-foot shop, another building and some equipment and had water up to the ceiling in his home.

Buffalo Peak Outfitters in Jackson’s Highland Village is looking forward to more shoppers coming in to purchase the necessities for outdoor activities. But employee Audrey Powell says she and the other 15 employees are really looking forward to the extra daylight time for some of their own activities.

“Do we like it? Absolutely,” she said. “We have access to demo boats and kayaks that employees can take out. We get off at 6:15 and still have a couple of hours to use them.”

The shop’s employees are also looking forward to the kayak series coming up at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park, and hope a big crowd comes out to watch.

A quick nine holes

Golf courses benefit from the added daylight, too. “With the added daylight, golfers can get off work at 4:30 or 5:00 and still play nine holes of golf. Otherwise they could not do that,” says Bill Yates, an attendant in the pro shop at Sunkist Country Club in Biloxi. “It’s really good for golfers.”

He said Sunkist is 110% recovered from the storm, and that business is good except for lacking many of the friends from the North who are not coming down like they did. “It will pick up,” he added. “They need to know we’re open and have rooms available.”

Business is booming at The Park in Flowood, and will only get better with the added daylight, says Tracey Greene, marketing and sales manager. “More daylight will help us even though the park is lighted,” she said. “A lot of people think they have to go in when it’s dark, especially those with small children. Now, parents will have more time to spend with their children, and this is a good place to do it.”

In existence for 13 years, the amusement park has the state’s only indoor ice skating rink that’s open daily, go carts, indoor bumper cars, laser tag and two 18-hole miniature golf courses.

“It’s a big attraction; people come from all over,” Greene said. “We have 30 groups booked for March, and do a lot of graduation nights and church groups. It’s positive and safe.”

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.

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