Lutsen, MN (NNCNOW.com)-- A dry winter had North Shore businesses scraping the bottom of the barrel in the 2012 winter that wasn't. Now in the dawning days of the holiday season, the first dose of noticeable snow has shop owners cautiously optimistic.
When snow bends branches on pine trees lining the North Shore, businesses bank big bucks.
"With the lack of all those people, our business definitely suffers."
When winter precipitation dries up Lutsen's Moondance Coffee Shop sales grind to a halt.
"We rely on those people in the winter time for our business," said Skip Reifsteck, co-owner of Moondance Coffee.
Those people are cross county skiers, snowmobilers, snowshoers, vital pieces to the North Shores economy... absent in the winter that wasn't.
"It was devastating for the full circle of the North Shore."
Michael Wartman of Beaver Bay Sport says adapting, and expanding services to fill market needs helped him survive.
"It's a matter of survival. You can't have all the irons in one pot," said Wartman. "If we weren't in that type of scale we would have closed our doors."
Other shops depend on reliable neighbors through snowless months.
"A lot of locals in the winter. I have lots of locals that keep us afloat," said Sonja Reifsteck with Moondance Coffee.
But all agree that building on the base of the snow the North Shore has received so far would be preferable.
"We're extremely positive this year, and we're already seeing travelers," said Gordy Anderson, President of the Two Harbors Chamber of Commerce.
But, you can never be sure with the ever-changing weather along the big lake.
Business owners are hoping not to have to deal with a double whammy following the negative impact the June flood had on the North Shore this summer.