Life's a beach: heatwave brings seaside business boom
With coastal resorts across the country having enjoyed a bustling weekend, how big an impact the heatwave has had on the fortunes of their businesses?
Environmentalists have long been touting the sun's potential to solve the planet's energy problems, but in recent weeks it's small businesses that have benefitted from the full force of solar power - specifically those by the seaside.
Soaring temperatures and blue skies have sent Brits flocking to the coast - and they've been spending their money there too.
According to the Bournemouth Tourism Board, an estimated 120,000 people took to the town's beaches from July 12th-14th, buying more than 40,000 ice creams as they revelled in the summer heat.
As demonstrated by these figures, while the sun is seldom seen for long periods in the UK, the impact it does have when it emerges from behind the clouds can make a vital difference to businesses.
Seaside restaurant owner Mark Cribb provides a striking example. Speaking to the BBC, he explained that in the 17-day period since the heat took hold, his business has made around £62,000 more than it did in the same timeframe during 2012.
While the sun is seldom seen for long periods in the UK, the impact it does have when it emerges from behind the clouds can make a vital difference to businesses.
Mark admitted that he did consider selling the restaurant three months ago when things were "touch-and-go" - but that the sun has essentially saved his establishment.
And it's not just the south coast of England where the boom times have been in full swing - the same can be said of Colwyn Bay in North Wales.
Hotel hot streak
A £52 million regeneration project in the area saw 570,000 tonnes of sand imported to the bay in April as local authorities set about constructing an artificial beach - and nearby businesses are already reaping the rewards.
Ian Davis, the hotel's owner, said: "As a local resident, as well as a business owner, it's fantastic to see the town on the up. There is so much to offer here and a wealth of opportunity for potential investors."
With more people said to be content to stay on home shores for their holidays now the sun is out, Ian added that the B&B also sees a lot of last-minute bookings.
It's not hard to see why the hot weather provides such a substantial boost to businesses that rely on the sun to drive their custom, but the key lies in taking full advantage of the blue skies in order to avoid turbulent times when the rain inevitably returns.
The Leicester Mercury reported that Dominoes toy store on the city's high street has sold around 1,000 paddling pools in the past ten days, with spokesman Steven Sansom revealing that he "could count on two hands" the amount the shop had sold in the last two years.
With bucket and spade sets also selling fast, the store is certainly enjoying the heatwave, while Hood Park Leisure Centre in Ashby has an outdoor pool proving popular among swimmers.
Thunderstorms may spoil some of the fun in the short term, but we all have our fingers crossed that the heatwave will continue. Even if it doesn't, those summer-orientated businesses that have maximised the potential of the warm weather will be counting their profits. Given the length of the sunny spell already, the boom should set them up nicely for the challenges of autumn and winter.
Image credit: Tanya Hart