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Continued: Minnesota businesses shutter, stumble and slog through cold

“As Minnesotans, we get used to the 10-below,” Eklund said. “But 20-, 30-below — anybody gets cold.”

As the temperature drops, discounts get deeper at Sebastian Joe’s, the Uptown coffee-bakery-ice cream shop. Ice cream was going for 25 percent off Monday.

“People know about that discount, so they’ll come in for that. There’s a lot of die-hard ice cream eaters,” bakery manager Tamra Leoni said.

Leoni works the early shift, baking the gooey goods, then greeting coffee customers. “People on their way to work, they still need their coffee,” she said, adding that the scent of warm baked goods probably helps them keep coming.

Warmer days are busier at the Downtowner Car Wash in St. Paul, but general manager Steve Plisek said extreme cold actually is a great time to wash a car, because slop won’t splash up from the frozen-over roadways. “Your car will stay cleaner longer,” he said.

Car doors and locks get extra treatment at the Downtowner, treated with lubricant and de-icers. On Monday, he saw a steady flow of cars and was operating three of five cleaning bays.

If you can, stay inside

The pride of acclimation notwithstanding, caution should prevail.

Dr. Anne Lambert, co-director of Hennepin County Medical Center’s burn unit, said dressing for extreme cold means layers, facemasks, mittens (not gloves) and woolen socks. The burn unit normally admits 30 patients per season with severe frostbite. So far this month, the unit has admitted about 90, she said.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is that people stay home,” she said. “If you don’t need to go outside, you shouldn’t.”

 

rochelle.olson@startribune.com • 612-673-1747

 

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