Heat continues to punish the Southland

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What better combination for a chocolate cone or strawberry smoothie than the blazing August sun? Surprisingly, sales aren’t what you might think at the Baskin Robbins ice cream shop in Baldwin Hills.

Its owner, Ms. Khan, who declined to give her first name, said she thought sales would boom this week. But it’s been a bust.

“We were thinking it was gonna be better, but it’s really, really bad. The economy is really affecting us a lot. You know, like the ice cream business used to be so good in the summer, but no more!” said Ms. Khan.

She says she’s owned the 31 Flavors Ice Cream shop near Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Plaza mall for five years, but that business started to drop off dramatically last year. Franchise owners in other areas are noticing a similar trend, she says.

In the last year or two, fast-food chains have started offering iced beverages and fruit smoothies at a lower price than coffee, juice and ice cream shops, which helps explain why her store is doing poorly even amid Souther California's soaring temperatures.

In the San Fernando Valley, temperatures have reached the triple digits and downtown Los Angeles temperatures climbed into the 90s today.

But people still have to get to and from work, school and doctors’ appointments. One bus rider named Clyde, who didn’t want to share his last name, stood under the blazing sun in Leimert Park for the 2-10 line along Crenshaw Boulevard to take him home.

“You gotta do what ‘cha gotta do just get around. The heat, cold, whatever. We still gotta take care of business. Life still goes on," said Clyde, while on his way home from an optometrist appointment.

Most Metro buses have air conditioning and offer a nice break from the heat, said Clyde.

Weather forecasters expect the heat wave through tomorrow with slight cooling on the weekend.

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