Closures due to weather impacting budgets

January 11, 2011 8:26:40 PM PST
The wintry weather is putting many businesses' bottom lines on ice.Some have been forced to close their doors early, while others didn't open at all due to conditions Tuesday.

NC State Economist Mike Walden says if the state's economy shuts down for one day and we couldn't get any of that activity back, it would cost North Carolina tax payers a billion dollars a day.

This week's storm won't come close to that, but it's still going to hurt business owners' bottom line.

With schools, businesses and most government offices closed down, a lot of residents said they had little if any reason to venture outdoors, except to ease cabin fever Tuesday.

Tommy Frangakis was open for business Tuesday night at his Raeford Road restaurant, but it was anything from business as usual.

"This time of night we should have a full house, and we are half full now, that is not a good sign," he said.

While the main roads around Fayetteville were clear and open, a lot of businesses weren't.

Cross Creek Mall's parking lot was empty and lots of other businesses closed early Tuesday evening, or didn't open at all.

"My back of the envelope calculations for this storm maybe it would cost us $150 million state wide," Walden said.

The state has spent millions on salt, brine, sand and overtime. All that, Walden says, is added to the cost of the storm. Lost sales and reduced factory production are also part of the equation.

A lot of that money won't be recovered.

"Storms do cause some business to shut down, people can't get to work, classes can't be held at universities, schedules get behind, so there is an economic cause," Walden said. "It's likely not nearly as high as the billion dollars statewide."

On the flip side of this, Walden says businesses that cater to families, like some restaurants, video stores and movie theaters, could actually benefit in times like this.

Whatever the outcome, the hope now is that as things start to thaw out, businesses will start to warm up sales.

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