Hot kitchen prompts Shafer’s to beat the heat and close early

MIDDLEBURY — The scalding heat wave that struck the Northeast this week has everyone scrambling to find ways to stay cool, local businesses included.
On the afternoon of July 2, with humidity causing a temperamental air conditioning system to act up and temperatures rising above 90 degrees, Shafer’s Market was forced to shut its doors at 2 p.m. — eight hours prior to its normal closing time.
The heat hit 95 degrees as the afternoon hours crept on, and store owner Adam Shafer decided it was best to send his workers home rather that sweat it out until the evening hours brought cooler temperatures.
“It was for the well-being of all the staff,” Shafer said. “With the heat, working in the kitchen is not beneficial for anybody. I’m not going to put anybody in that environment in which they’re risking the chance of heatstroke or passing out or anything like that.”
Shafer said he’s noticed less foot traffic and, consequently, less business than usual over the past few days due to the blistering temperatures.
“Even with the ice cream business I’d say there are less people out, so we’re definitely seeing slow business right now,” he said. “All the compressors are working on overtime. With the ice cream, we’re doing all we can to keep it frozen right now.”
Despite the heat, it was business as usual at the small market on the morning of July 3. Shafer said that he doesn’t expect the heat to have any long-term effects, and he’s hopeful that the end of the week will bring lower temperatures and that business will return to normal.
Still, he’s preparing for the heatwave to continue, just in case.
“With the 4th off, I’m hoping today will be okay,” he mused. “After Friday it’s looking like temperatures will be trending down. I’m hoping it won’t be a problem, but I’m making sure the AC is prime and that we’re ready for it the next time this happens.”

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