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Frigid temps affect companies across Kansas City metro

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 18:50:32-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — The freezing temperatures that blanketed the Kansas City metro on Wednesday had different impacts on area businesses.

"It's a good day to be in a museum because it's so cold," said Jenny Turner, who was visiting the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

Turner and other out-of-town visitors chose to explore Kansas City's indoor attractions on the blustery cold day.

"It is -32 (degrees) in Detroit today with wind chills, so this is balmy," said Theresa Lafia, who was visiting from Flint, Michigan.

At Boulevard Brewery, workers made sure the bitter temperatures didn't impact production by checking the HVAC system to make sure it was running correctly.

To prevent freezing, the pipes used to transport Boulevard's beer are indoors. The brewery even has a ball about the size of a pipe that goes through the lines to push out spent grains, which prevents them from freezing and clogging the lines.

LISTEN: The 41 Files Kansas City Podcast crew says KC's cold temps nothing compared to Minnesota, Chicago

The fermentation process, on the other hand, produces quite a bit of heat, so Boulevard employees need to cool the tanks with a liquid refrigerant, even in the cold, Boulevard's ambassador brewer Jeremy Danner said.

"Even when it's super cold out, you still need to control that temperature to create the flavors you are looking for in the beer," Danner said.

Danner said the beer will not freeze on any of the distribution trucks because the trucks are insulated. The beer will only freeze if it's left outside for a while.

While most of the Boulevard staff were working in comfortable temperatures on Wednesday, employees at Buildings Steel Company Incorporated were working in a warehouse in freezing temperatures.

The company makes steel beams that will be used for buildings. The equipment to make the beams had to be warmed up on Wednesday.

"It's a hydraulic machine so we got to get the hydros warmed up and going," CSCE operator Scott Gordon said. "This morning it took an hour and half to get warmed up. While the machine is warm, I'm not."

The warehouse Gordon works in is almost 100 years old and doesn't have much insulation, so the cold temperatures outside put a damper on production.

"It's a little bit slower, everything is definitely a lot slower today," Gordon said. "(It's) cold cold cold, especially on my computer over there, there's hardly any heat."

To make conditions better for the workers, there were space heaters scattered throughout the warehouse for them to warm up when needed.