During the holiday weekend, the residents that remained in the area chose to beat the heat by staying in homes that were air-conditioned, or flocking to restaurants like Panera or merchants like IKEA that offered food, air conditioning, and a place to sit.
As a result, Occoquan business was especially slow this weekend, but small business owners said the low numbers were to be expected after the heat wave and holiday weekend drove most residents to leave the area or stay in their homes.
"Yesterday was good," Blanton said on Saturday. But Sunday was comparable to normal traffic numbers. "It hasn't dropped off; it just hasn't increased."
Blanton says the heat is driving many customers to stay indoors instead of venturing out to find ice cream. In addition, many of her regular customers are out of town for the holiday.
"I've gotten a lot of new people who didn't know, so that's a whole new group of people," Blanton said. "Yesterday was an increase in food sales. They just wanted something quick. And yesterday I had a little more soft-serve sales."
Blanton is staying open until 9 p.m. every evening this week, an hour past her normal closing time, and she's been trying out new products, such as fresh-squeezed lemonade, which can be made with or without sugar.
"Business has been picking up because I am staying open later, and more people are walking around town at night," she said.
Blanton is considering investing in a generator. Even though she didn't lose power this time around, she doesn't want a repeat of last summer, when she lost all her ice cream when the power went out.
Across the street at jewelry and accessories store Spiral Creations, co-owner Tom Alden said the shop never lost power, but that customer traffic had been slow.
"People just aren't coming out," he said. "Occoquan is a fair weather town. When it's nice out, we have business, when it's one extreme or the other, people don't come out."
Nevertheless, the shop still had a couple of sales Sunday.
"The people who have come in — they're grateful for the air conditioning," Alden said.
At the Garden Kitchen, manager Dimora Salinas said the store never lost power.
"We haven't had too many customers," she said.
Employee Dina Guzman agreed.
"Today was slow," she said. "Yesterday it was busy. When it is really hot, people just don't come. But some people are coming and saying they don't have power."
A Lil' Bit of Posh owner Maria Nevarez-Sinnott said the slower customer traffic this weekend was a tiny interruption in what was otherwise a steady increase in traffic brought by the opening of a consignment section in the store.
"A lot of customers have been asking for a consignment store in Occoquan," Nevarez-Sinnott said. "High end is what Occoquan is known for. This is going to be a consignment shop for both new and used items. This is our second week of doing it and it is a plus."
She attributed the slower traffic this weekend to the heat and the holiday weekend.
"Most of the people in the area just leave," she said.