Early ice out on White Bear Lake boosts local businesses

In yet another record for Minnesota, this year's ice out was declared on White Bear Lake on Friday, March 8, the earliest date since 1928.

Now, early season warm weather is also heating up demand at some local businesses.

"This past week I’ve seen more foot traffic and more phone calls and emails than we’ve seen in the past typically at this time of year," Midwest School of Diving owner Mark Dugger told FOX 9. "It’s going to increase our sales."

Normally, during this time of year, Dugger’s scuba divers have to travel south to their training hours.

However, this year, things are different: "We can take care of all of it here and significantly reduce the price of what it’s going to cost them on vacation… we’re anticipating actually being in the lake training probably in about two to two and a half weeks. That’s going to be about a month early," Dugger explained.

Next door, inside a local bait shop, manager Khalaf Qasem hopes the warm weather will boost his springtime sales. Thin ice during the warm winter hurt his sales over the last few months.

"The winter has gone very quick," Qasem said. "I expect we will be busy, because the fishing will start early."

Click here to see the DNR’s list of Minnesota lakes that have been declared ice out.