As the summer season draws to an end, people generally try to take advantage of the last few warm days, finishing up some needed home improvement projects, planting or preparing their garden for the winter months, as well as traveling and recreation.
Not by coincidence, the Labor Day holiday rolls around just in time for many Americans to utilize their free time to do some self-appointed work.
Nathan Lail, store manager at Lowe’s Home Improvement in Johnson City, said Labor Day is a pretty busy time of year, with people rushing in for deals on items such as grills and patio furniture.
“You’re ending the season, you want to spend as much time as you can outside, so you want to enjoy Labor Day. You want to get those last minute projects done before it gets cold,” Lail said. “We’ve had a lot of grill sales, patio furniture sales ... of course, people are buying charcoal and lawn chairs and stuff like that, to enjoy outside the next couple of months. We sell a lot of mulch and stone and patio pavers. Then folks will buy a good patio heater and put out there.”
He said many of his customers enjoy freshening up for fall, which includes painting, indoors and outdoors, as well as home installations.
“Paint is an area that gets a lot of business during Labor Day,” Lail said. “As you’re leading here into Labor Day, you’re leading into the bigger holidays where families are coming over, and so you’ll see projects where people ... are getting flooring and carpet installed. You’ll see a lot of installation projects.”
He has predicted that this Labor Day will be like all of the rest –– busy.
“It’s a three or four day weekend for a lot of folks. We see a lot of increased traffic for that holiday,” Lail said.
Summer flowers and plants do inevitably fade with the season, but Cindy Turner, plant specialist with Evergreen, said the changing of the season doesn’t slow down their customers, with many already anxious to get their hands on some fall and winter plants.
“Right now it’s starting to be mums and pansy season, so we’re getting all of our mums and our pansies in to get ready for the fall season,” Turner said. “It’s just the transition from summer to fall that just really intrigues people. It’s just the fall feeling. We still are busy.”
She said many items, such as mums and sunflowers, are always popular picks for the upcoming season.
“The mums are really popular,” Turner said. “We had people asking for those many, many weeks in advance before it was really time to even get them in. Sunflowers are (a) popular fall arrangement.”
As far as landscaping, she said a lot of customers coming into Evergreen for the season are rejuvenating the plants that they already have by remulching.
“They’re pretty much ripping up summer annuals and getting ready to put down mums and pansies whenever we get the pansies in,” she said.
Turner said Evergreen hosts a free public seminar every Saturday on various gardening topics appropriate for the season. So far they’ve had one on cold season vegetables and are preparing one for winterizing lawn care.
Besides working in the yard or in the home, people also enjoy getting out and traveling on their extended weekend.
Don Lindsey, director of public and government relations for AAA Tennessee, has been working hard to ensure they have travel teams in place for the holiday.
“We have made sure that our emergency road service staff and everything is beefed up for any kind of needs the travelers might have as far as having breakdowns and that kind of thing,” he said. “We make sure that we’re covered for those folks who are coming through town and quite a few people do come through East Tennessee.”
Nationally, people expected to travel on Labor Day is estimated at around 33 million.
“We’ve been making sure that we can handle the holiday travel needs of our members and in some cases the traveling public,” he said. “Most of the people who are going to be traveling are going to be traveling by car and ... about 28.2 million people will be traveling by automobile.”
The Tennessee Department of Transportation issued a news release Wednesday, that said that all lanes previously closed due to construction, would be open for holiday travel beginning at noon Friday until Tuesday at 6 a.m. Lindsey said open roads really do help with safe and pleasant travel.
“That’s important for our members because they can have some assurance that within Tennessee at least, they’re not going to have as many slowdowns to deal with because of construction and certainly if it’s good for our members, it’s good for us,” he said.
He said anyone driving during the holiday should also remember to travel in a car that is in decent shape, to make sure that the tires have air, that the lights and windshield wipers are OK, as well as the driver getting plenty of rest before starting out.