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Early Spring

Outdoor businesses getting early start

April 1, 2012
By MIKE ZUMMO , The Leader Herald

Before temperatures snapped back to more of a March normal, the area enjoyed a summerlike start to the spring season, with temperatures stretching into the low 80s on the warmer days.

That warmer weather sparked a seasonal change at some area businesses. Several golf courses opened earlier due to the warmer weather and drier winter, and an area outdoors store got an early start on pool season.

Alpin Haus, based in Amsterdam, took advantage of the early pool-installation season by putting one in at a home in Wynantskill, Rensselaer County, on March 21.

Article Photos

Alpin Haus Ski and Pool Department Manager James A. Georgelos is shown with a display pool outside the store on Route 30 in the town of Amsterdam.

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

"It's been awesome across the board," said Andy Heck, president of Alpin Haus, which has area locations on routes 5S and 30 in Amsterdam. "All three areas are getting a jump start."

According to a news release, Alpin Haus had never installed a pool that early. And according to Heck, the company worked on its second installation last week.

"It's great to have two pools in during March," Heck said. "We don't normally start until the second or third week in April. It's definitely the earliest, and a month ahead of last year."

Heck said the company's biggest warm-weather months are June, July and August, but this year business started picking up this month as people took advantage of the warm weather between March 17 and 24, when the highest temperatures reached into the low 80s.

"This year, with the weather, we're probably a month ahead of time because of the sales volume," Heck said.

That did, however, come at a cost to the winter season, which suffered due to the lack of snow and mild weather seen this season.

"Because there was so much interest going into the ski season, we had a good first half of the ski season, but the second half wasn't great," Heck said.

He said one of the most difficult areas was the sale of snowmobiles over the winter. With so little snow, few people were buying the machines.

"It's just one of those years you have to write off and regroup next year," he said.

Two area golf courses also took advantage of the recent warm weather, although attendance took a hit last week when the temperature dropped into the 40s.

Holland Meadows Golf Course in the town of Mayfield and Fox Run Golf Club in the town of Johnstown were both fully open by March 18.

Fox Run opened the front nine the previous Wednesday, March 14. Holland Meadows' driving range opened a week earlier.

According to owner Dennis Sniezyk, Holland Meadows' March 18 opening was a record, but only by about two days.

"It's still unusual," he said.

Both Sniezyk and Rich Scott, head pro at Fox Run, reported good turnouts during the warm week, despite the drop in golfing when the temperature dropped back into the 40s and low 50s last week.

"There were a lot of people on the course," Scott said. "It's usually mid-May before wee see that many people," he said.

Sniezyk agreed.

"Turnout was great," he said. "Any time you can open up early, either the [driving] range or the golf course, people are excited about being outside."

The only drawback to the early openings for the courses was, in some cases, the pro shops weren't completely stocked yet.

Scott said Fox Run's pro shop is still down a few items.

"I usually have everything on order for April 1," he said. "I would expect by the second week in April, I should have everything."

Sniezyk said Holland Meadows' pro shop is fully stocked.

After a week that saw mostly 40s, according to the National Weather Service, warm weather is due to arrive in the area gain. Temperatures may break 60 again by Tuesday.

Mike Zummo is the business editor. He can be reached at



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