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Weathering a wet fall
Business growing with rain
Roofing 1 es
Marco Flores and Stephen Fitzpatrick unload roofing materials at a house on River Point in Suwanee. While the rain has been disruptive, it also has created opportunities for some businesses. - photo by Emily Saunders
From rooftops to the fairways, an unusually wet fall has challenged some Forsyth County businesses.

But rain or shine, most are determined to weather whatever Mother Nature throws their way.

The area has received more than 11 inches of rain in the past month, or 7 inches more than the normal, according to For the year, rainfall has totaled 59.51 inches, or about 13.5 inches above normal.

Assistant golf professional Matt Goodall said nearly 20 percent of tee times at Windermere Golf & Country Club have been rescheduled after recent rainy days.

“There’s a few diehards that’ll stay out there, but they’re few and far between,” he said. “It’s been so unpredictable lately. But people see that sun and they just get the itch.”

Fitzpatrick Roofing & Contracting has seen its fair share of weather-delayed projects. While the rain has been disruptive, it also has stirred business.

“Rains bring more business,” said owner Stephen Fitzpatrick. “Rains will make people that have marginal roofs make their decision quickly. Because like anything, if a gutter’s not working, they’ll get gutters.

“I’m always having trouble keeping up with it all. That’s a good thing.”

Kay Borders, owner of Borders ‘n’ Blooms Landscaping, said the soggy weather has caused some delays for her business.

“When it’s coming down in buckets, you don’t work because there’s a safety issue there,” she said, noting even light showers can hamper production. “On a wet lawn, you don’t get a good cut.”

In the end, however, Borders said business hasn’t suffered. Rain speeds the growth of grass and plants.

“You just readjust your schedules and sometimes it puts the guys working on Saturdays. But you do the best you can,” she said.

“The weather is the weather ... you can’t control it and you just work through it.”

Or play through, if not around, it. At Windermere, Goodall said two golf tournaments had to be rescheduled due to the weather.

The course had to close during the periods of heaviest rain. But that accounted for only about seven or eight days.

“Most people reschedule and when we have those good days, we end up getting overwhelmed,” he said. “But we’re still pretty much right on pace for the same amount of rounds as last year. It has just been shifted to different times.”

Fitzpatrick has also shifted his schedule. He won’t repair roofs, gutters and chimneys during a storm, but it’s not unusual for him to inspect them during foul weather.

“I’ve had to,” he said. “There are too many people to see.”

While the previous two-year drought could have slowed business, Fitzpatrick said there was a hailstorm “that kept us really busy.”

“One catastrophe went to another,” he said. “It was a lot of hail, then a lot of rain.

“If you’re an A+ accredited roofing company, they look online and when they see that. [We] get 15 to 20 calls a day.”

Also receiving calls are real estate brokers, for whom the rain has been only a minor inconvenience.

Potential homebuyers may have had to remove their wet or muddy shoes before touring a house, but Realtor Scott Whelchel said such precautions haven’t thwarted sales.

“Buyers that are out there are serious about buying, whether its pouring rain or bright and sunny,” he said.

Whelchel is looking at the big picture. Week after week of heavy rain has added nearly 20 feet of water to Lake Lanier, which has topped full pool of 1,071 feet above sea level.

“With the lake levels, there has been somewhat of a boom in lake showings,” he said. “It’s a fantastic time to buy lake properties.”