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May 31. 2013 8:23PM

Heat brings out need to keep things cool


Jazz Bernier of Fremont, left, discusses her options for buying a new air conditioner Friday with Cameron Cheever, a seasonal worker at Ace Ben Franklin in Raymond. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)

Jazz Bernier looked over the boxes of air conditioners stacked up at the front of Ace Ben Franklin in Raymond.

Buying a new air conditioner was the last thing she thought she'd be doing less than a week after a cold snap brought snow to parts of New Hampshire.

But as they say around here, "If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes."

Bernier waited until Friday when temperatures soared into the 90s.

"It went from winter to hot," the Fremont woman said before heading off to the bank to get some cash to make her purchase.

Bernier wasn't the only customer looking for a way to keep cool as the first wave of stifling heat arrived this season.

Fans and air conditioners have been hot sellers all week long.

"Sometimes it takes one to two days of the heat to penetrate and then people start panicking," said Karen Vinson, co-owner of Ace Ben Franklin.

Sales began picking up early in the week at the Lowe's home improvement store in South Nashua.

"We've been selling them since the heat wave was announced Monday. We're hopeful that it keeps on driving business," said Dave Lewis, Lowe's store manager.

Anticipating the increased demand for air conditioners, Lewis said the store has had extra trucks arriving with more units to keep the shelves stocked.

One trend he has seen is an increase in sales of portable air conditioning units. While window units have always been a big seller, portable air conditioners that roll across the floor are gaining popularity.

"Those are selling very well. I think they're easier to use in some homes and you can wheel them from one room to another. They've also become much more economical," Lewis said.

Jeff Brodeur, manager of Benson Lumber & Hardware in Londonderry, said air conditioners and fans began selling Tuesday night and haven't stopped.

"There's definitely an interest in the cooling category," he said.

Benson's still has several 5,000 and 8,000 btu air conditioners in stock for those who have decided to wait until the heat wave hit.

Store workers said many customers have come in looking to replace old air conditioners while others wanted another one to add to the units already being used to keep things cool.

"We're very busy. Were in a good position in terms of stock," said Renee Hough, a manager at the Home Depot in Londonderry.

It wasn't too busy at Aubuchon Hardware in Bedford on Friday, but sales associate Walter Moore said he expected sales to pick up through the weekend as the late spring heat continued.

"They'll get them eventually," he said. "When they can't sleep for the night they'll come in the next day. That's human nature."

jschreiber@newstote.com


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