Some businesses struggled, others thrived during recent winter storm


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Frigid winter temperatures may be over, but they left a lasting impact across many communities.

Poor road conditions with so much snow and ice forced many business to close their doors — and cash registers.

But other businesses were able to capitalize on the lack of competition.

At the Portsmouth Floral Company, business is slowly getting back on track. Last week’s winter blast shut them down.

“I had as much as 12 to 15 pieces to go out to a funeral that we had to hold for two or three days because of cancellations,” said owner Charles Etheridge.

With the roads covered in snow, Etheridge made the decision to close. As other businesses closed, he figured there would be no deliveries.

“The roads were just so bad it’s not worth wrecking the truck or have a driver fall down and break his arm,” Etheridge said.

But as bad as it was for business on the outside, inside it was just as bad. With the cooler down, they would lose close to $2,000 worth of fresh cut flowers.

“Sounds stupid, but I had to blow in cold air with a fan in the icebox to keep things, what I had left, going,” Etheridge said.

At the Humboldt Steel Corporation restaurant in Portsmouth, a different story.

“Once people noticed that the business was open they just started coming in,” said Trish Burnham with Humboldt Steel. “It was the locals that got out to spend some money.”

“The neighborhood had planned a snowball fight. They just all came out to play in the snow, noticed we were open, so they came out to drink and eat pizza.”

So from open to close on a cold winter day, it payed to stay open.

“It was busy. It was hectic and it was crazy. We ran out of a lot of beers and a lot of liquor, but it was a great day overall,” Burnham said.

Both businesses are just looking to get back to normal after last week’s storm.

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