Monday, February 2, 2009

Ice Storm 'Good' for Local Business

by Ed Zelaski

Severe winter weather stormed through Athens County last week. Ice storms knocked out power and made road conditions hazardous for thousands of county residents. Despite the severe weather, some local businesses are booming.

Workers Getting to Work
With the roads icy, many businesses had problems with workers getting to work. "The stores initially, were very short on help as far as their staff being able to get in," says President Wendy Jakmas of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce. "Once the staff were able to get in, obviously that had some bearing that people were able to get out of their homes, sales are very brisk," she says.

Chamber President Wendy Jackmas on workers' ability to get into work

Necessities Flying Off the Shelves
Necessities like batteries and generators, flew off the shelves at Wal-mart and Lowe's. Lowe's ran out of generators and had to order more. And Jackmas says that stores haven't been taking advantage of the situation by raising prices. She says she's proud because Lowe's actually lowered the price of power generators.

Local hotels have also been doing well. Days Inn employee Rob Gorter says the hotels have been packed with people without power at home. "As other people's power is coming back on, other people are coming in to take their spots," he says. "It's just been crazy, turning people over left and right.

Chamber President Wendy Jackmas on what's been selling

Good for business
As tough as times have been, Chamber president Jackmas says that this has been good for the local economy. She says that both small and big retailers have been packed. "It's been good for our economy and good for a number of businesses, and hopefully people will get their power back on," she says.

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