A wet, soggy winter and spring have given way to sunshine and smiles from local businesses.
Napans -- and visitors -- can now go outside to enjoy a kayak trip, a hot-air balloon ride and al fresco dining under sunny skies.
They can also primp their rides: Motorists balk at washing their cars if it’s raining, according to Wes Siebern, owner of Classic Car Wash on Freeway Drive.
Siebern estimates the extended rainy season into early June has cut his early business about 50 percent.
In a normal year, the wet weather is gone by April and most people start coming in to have their cars scrubbed to a squeaky clean, according to Siebern.
With the rains gone and school out for the summer, many people are thinking about vacation trips and not getting the car detailed, he said. “So as a result we have missed the pre-season rush.”
The late rain has "definitely impacted our business,” said Laurie Aboudara-Robertson, who co-owns Kayak Napa Valley with Elizabeth Pearson.
Kayak NV normally begins offering excursions on a regular basis in mid-April. This year, regular “paddle trips on the river did not start until early June,” said Aboudara-Robertson.
“When the sun came out the phone started ringing.”
To try and make up for lost revenue, Kayak NV is considering larger groups of kayakers and is also planning two full-moon river cruises this season.
With the rain gone, Kayak NV is launching excursions on Friday night and Saturday morning.
And although the company specializes in guided tours, the owners are also thinking about letting kayak renters do their own thing and launch wherever they want along the river, Aboudara-Robertson said.
Downtown Joe’s, a downtown popular bar and restaurant, saw business drop 10 to 15 percent because of the soggy weather, which kept customers from enjoying the new outdoor dining patio facing the Napa River.
“We are definitely benefitting from the sunshine,” said general manager Bob Cabrera. “People (enjoy) sitting outdoors.”
Balloons Above the Valley owner Bob Barbarick said his business can be put on hold not only by rain: Fog and wind can be factors in deciding if the hot-air balloons can go up.
“We have to be knowledgeable about the weather.”
Barbarick said he had a pretty good February, but then the rains returned and didn’t quit until early June.
“If we can’t fly, we can’t charge the customers.”
Barbarick, whose office is on California Boulevard, said he has 10 balloons ready to go with the determining factor being the number of people booking trips.
Customers don’t want to go up if the weather is bad. “Sunshine is when people want to go up,” he said, adding that in fog or wind he can at least try and use a different location to launch the balloons.