DERBYSHIRE: Businesses hope for sun after profits are hit by Arctic blast

Bruno and Pauline Frederick enjoying an ice cream during the cold snap
Bruno and Pauline Frederick enjoying an ice cream during the cold snap

Businesses are desperately hoping for a prosperous spring and summer after trade was hit during the Arctic blast.

Scores of Derbyshire firms are still counting the cost following the recent bout of extreme winter weather.

Met Office forecasters have revealed that last month – which saw snow cause days of chaos across the county – was the second coldest March on record.

John Frederick, managing director of Brampton-based ice cream firm Frederick’s, said times were tough.

He told the Derbyshire Times: “Unfortunately our sales have been below average – obviously because of the weather.

“Last year was a washout and this year we’ve had to put up with a particularly long winter so it is challenging.

“But we’re born optimists and remain ever hopeful of having a long, hot summer – we really need one.”

Dedicated staff at Chesterfield taxi company Central Cars worked tirelessly to cater for passengers during the cold blast.

However, owner Ann Dickens revealed that takings were down “dramatically”.

She said: “Even when the buses weren’t running we were out and about serving customers – but given the conditions our drivers weren’t able to do as many jobs as they normally would.”

Ann added: “It’s been the longest winter I’ve ever seen.

“Like everyone else I’m just hoping we’ve seen the worst of it and it’s going to turn out to be a nice spring and summer.”

Many outdoor workers – including farmers, builders and gardeners – have bore the brunt of the big freeze.

Gardener Martin Reynolds, of Old Whittington-based Lawn-pro Garden Services, said: “It’s been an absolutely horrendous and very difficult time – for me it’s set things back a lot.

“But I’m trying to stay optimistic as I’ve heard more seasonal weather could be on the horizon.

“Things can only get better as they say.”

The bad weather hasn’t been bad for all businesses, however.

Jane Lefley, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale in Chesterfield, said a number of traditional local pubs – especially those with open fires – had benefited.

She added: “I think that despite the cold and the snow a lot of people have still been going to their local.”

Kevin Groom, manager of Martin’s World Travel agents in Chesterfield, said he had seen a “slight increase” in people escaping abroad.

And the snow and freezing temperatures didn’t stop hardy swimmers from taking the plunge at Hathersage Swimming Pool when it reopened for the new season.

More than 500 swimmers turned out to enjoy a dip in the popular pool’s heated water.

Former lifeguard Peter Jones said: “It was certainly a lot warmer in than out!”