Despite dicey lake conditions, Lake of the Ozark businesses thrive

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LAKE OF THE OZARKS - A whole slew of weather uncertainties surprised Lake of the Ozarks visitors, residents and businesses this summer. But, although faced with some initial setback, local businesses in the popular Missouri vacation destination continued to stay busy.

Mid-way through the summer, the Lake of the Ozarks faced heavy rain, which ultimately raised water levels and fears of extensive flooding. Gov. Jay Nixon issued a "no-wake zone" in July to combat possible flooding until water returned to standard levels a couple days later.

The last time a "no wake zone" order was executed was in 1993.

Brad Cato, manager of boat rentals at Iguana Watersports, said the 4th of July rain decreased business just a little bit, but he is grateful most clients are traveling from out of town.

"It slowed down a little bit, but most of our customers are from out-of-state, so they had those vacation plans," Cato said. "They are going to go boating no matter what."

Mike Page, manager of Leather Man in downtown Osage Beach, said his leather jacket business actually made more profit this summer over previous years.

"When we started off we had a lot of rain, but July was actually very strong," Page said. "Overall, this season is actually up a little bit from last year."

Page noted the lake's weather conditions play a big role in the success of his business during high-visitor months.

Sadly, the Labor Day weekend holiday brought some unwanted weather to end the summer for many lake-goers, which hurt the number of people on and around the lake.

Samuel Dodda traveled from Kansas City with his family to celebrate one of the last weekends of summer. He said the weather did not stop him from one last dip.

"We stopped at one point, jumped into the lake and swam," Dodda said. "It was pretty fun."

KOMU 8 News asked if managers would change their business models to try and battle lake conditions.

All said the weather is too tough to read.