As Scotch Plains and Fanwood residents sweated through last week's record-breaking heatwave, two local business owners turned to a time-honored tradition to help customers beat the heat. Brothers Vinnie and Nick Losavio, the second-generation proprietors of on Park Avenue, set-up a boom box in the back of the store, speakers in the front, and started playing some of their favorite Christmas tunes.
Up and down Park Avenue, and across the shimmering blacktop behind John's Meat Market, the sound of sleigh bells carried through the haze, drawing passers-by to the butcher shop's air-conditioned oasis.
“I’ve been doing it for about 10 years,” Vinnie Losavio said. He added that this was the first year, however, that he woke Santa Claus from hibernation to sit atop the counter (a plastic model, that is). “I wait for the hottest week of the year, when it gets toward 100 degrees, and I put [the music] out and the people, they go crazy.... The first thing they say is, ‘Oh, memories of being comfortable!’”
Neighboring business owners said they welcomed the sweet sounds of snow and holiday cheer. Zee Syed, who owns the Buck and Party Store, said the music reminded him of winter, a season he prefers to summer. Fanwood resident and John's Meat Market customer Ariel Quinones agreed, adding that the tunes had him humming Christmas jingles for the rest of the day.
But where does this leave the Losavio brothers when snow truly does begin to fall during the dark heart of winter? As customers trudge into the store, braving ice and cold, it will be the summery sounds of steel-drum music that greets them at the door, Vinnie Losavio said.