Rockville Centre businesses: brrrrring on the cold


During the winter months, it’s not uncommon for people to feel that the cold weather is taking its toll. Businesses feel the effects of the season too, but not in ways that are entirely expected.

For example, Rockville Centre Auto Repair, on North Park Avenue near South Side Middle School, sees more business over the winter months. But it’s not fender-benders caused by icy roads that send most vehicles to the shop. “We see a lot more dead batteries, and a lot more people coming in with tire-pressure lights,” said Frank, manager of the auto shop, who declined to give his last name.

Frank said that battery replacements are most common this time of year. When concerned drivers come in to remedy low tire pressure, Frank said he takes a look, but normally sends them on their way. “The cold air is denser than warm air, so the pressure goes down,” he noted. “It’ll heat up again when you start driving.”

Jennifer Martinez, who manages the AMC movie theater on North Park Avenue, said that the movie theater does the best business on days where kids have off from school, and that the December and February breaks are both big sales weeks for the local hangout.

“On a weekday, we usually sell like 500 tickets a day,” Martinez said. “During the [last holiday] break, we sold 3,000.” She added that while more people usually go to the movies on a weekend, “If it’s pouring out, we do more business on the weekdays. It varies for us.”

Restaurants also notice the effects of the cold, but in different ways, depending on the food they sell.

Jade Hernandez, manager of Mesita, a Mexican restaurant on Merrick Road, said that since it specializes in hot food that is often spicy, they don’t really notice a difference in customers. “We do better when it’s warmer out,” she said, “but not by that much.”

A bartender at Cabo, on North Park Avenue, who did not give his name, said that when it gets bitter cold out, his customers often crowd at the back of the eatery instead of stand near the floor-to-ceiling glass storefront. “That thing doesn’t insulate at all,” he said, pointing at the glass. “It can get pretty cold up here, even when we have the heat blasting.” He added that they turn on the ceiling fans as well to help circulate the heated air.

Ralph Romanelli, manager at Gino’s Pizza on Long Beach Road, said, “The dining room is definitely quieter,” but added that fewer in-store customers don’t necessarily amount to fewer sales because of the bump in delivery calls. He said that snow is also a big factor. Since the first major snowstorm earlier this month, the cold spell has relented a bit, but temperatures are expected to stay in the 20s and 30s.

“If there’s no school and people are around, we do all right,” he said. “Once it really starts coming down though, that’s when people start ordering in.” Romanelli added though that the restaurant only takes delivery calls when its drivers feel comfortable on the roads.