As grass dies and conservatories sizzle, profits soar for some companies - but has it been too hot even for ice cream?

Simon Cheale of Artificial Grass Solutions. Picture: Simon Cheale

Simon Cheale of Artificial Grass Solutions. Picture: Simon Cheale - Credit: Archant

Whilst the prolonged dry spell may have caused misery for those in the welly boots trade, it has sparked a sizzling sales boom for many Suffolk companies.

Suffolk Meadow Ice Cream - David Strachan and Katherine Manning at the Suffok Show. Picture: Katheri

Suffolk Meadow Ice Cream - David Strachan and Katherine Manning at the Suffok Show. Picture: Katherine Manning - Credit: Archant

As sweltering temperatures melt the roads and parch the grass, they have also created furnace like temperatures in conservatories. That has benefited Colourchange UPVC, based at Rendlesham in Suffolk, who are the region’s leading installers of insulated replacement roofs for conservatories.

Owner Daryl Collins claims that business enquiries have tripled with the recent hot spell.

“The excessive heat is not just impossible to sit in, it causes all sorts of problems and damage as temperatures in conservatories soar above 120 degrees,” he explained.

Suppliers of air conditioning units are also benefitting from the recent heatwave, although for some, the demand has been too great. The chief executive of one such Suffolk company, who declined to be named, said: “We can’t handle the calls. We are absolutely snowed under, it’s taking more than three weeks for us to get to people whose air conditioning units have broken down. We’re having to turn away local companies, and that’s not good for business.”

As people look out over their distinctly yellow-looking lawns, increasing numbers of them appear to have decided to opt for green grass of the artificial kind instead.

Simon Cheale of Artificial Grass Solutions Suffolk, says this company is already booked up until October. “We’re struggling to keep pace,” he admitted. “Enquiries have increased by 35% year on year this past month due to the long dry spell.

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“Myself and my team are currently working 13 hour days to meet the demands of the increase in business.”

Mr Cheale, whose company has been trading for the last four years, says he is seeing a constant rise in demand for artificial grass - “not only because of this long hot summer but also the long wet winters where normal grass becomes water logged and boggy.” he explained.

“Hot climates including UAE, USA & South Africa have been using artificial grass for many years as they can appreciate the benefits in hotter climates.”

The sun has also been shining on the local ice cream industry. Suffolk Meadow Ice Cream, based in Halesworth, has sold almost 1000 more units over the last six weeks compared to 2017, representing an 11% like-for-like increase.

“We have noticed the biggest increase in sales of vanilla, Belgian chocolate and strawberry in the 120ml size pots,” says the company’s development manager Katherine Manning. But she adds: “I do wonder if in some areas sales have been lower due to the football and it actually being too hot for ice cream - I can’t believe I’m saying that!”