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This winter has been particularly challenging for businesses in the Great Lakes region, with record warm temperatures affecting snowfall and winter tourism. Kelli Doyen, the owner of the Gwinn Model Towne Inn in Michigan, has seen a 70% decrease in sales due to the lack of snow, impacting her ability to stay afloat until the summer tourism season begins. The warm winter has also led to severe drought conditions in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa, prompting governors to offer loans to impacted businesses.

The impact of the warm winter extends beyond just tourism, affecting a wide range of businesses that rely on snow and winter activities to drive revenue. Susan Estler, CEO of Travel Marquette, has seen a 16% decrease in hotel bookings, with reservations and businesses down overall. Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that snow activities contribute significantly to the region’s economy, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake for businesses in states around the Great Lakes.

Some events, such as the UP200 sled-dog race, have been forced to cancel due to lack of snow, leading businesses to quickly adapt and find new ways to attract customers. Christopher Germain, CEO of Lake Superior Community Partnership, noted that ski areas have been offering summertime packages and partnerships with other businesses to offset the loss in winter revenue. The need for adaptation and creativity has become even more crucial as businesses navigate the challenges of climate change.

Despite the challenges, business owners like Doyen remain committed to their communities and are determined to find ways to stay afloat. Doyen plans to offer discounts and promotions to attract more visitors and generate revenue during the spring months. The importance of community support and collaboration has become increasingly vital for businesses in the face of unpredictable weather patterns and the need for resilience in the face of changing conditions.

Looking ahead, business owners in the Great Lakes region are recognizing the need to be adaptable and flexible in their approach to planning and revenue generation. The warm winter and its impact on businesses have underscored the importance of preparedness and resilience in the face of climate change. Despite the challenges, there is a sense of determination and optimism among business owners who are working together to overcome obstacles and create new opportunities for growth and success.

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