Snow and the Small Business

In the South, everything freezes up at the onset of winter weather. In fact, it freezes up before the weather begins; store shelves were bare of bread yesterday, more than 30 hours before any precipitation was predicted, and schools are being dismissed early despite the forecast, which doesn’t call for rain—not snow!—until sundown. Our plow, salt, and sand infrastructure isn’t equipped to handle what is a laughable amount of snow for most northerners. And often, we get ice instead of snow. You can’t fight ice.

While my children celebrate, as a small-business owner, I cringe at the forecast. I spent all morning coping with the storm: canceling classes, rescheduling workshops and series, and alerting students to the changes. All this work to tell people not to come enjoy our offerings. It’s similar for other business owners, who must fit a weekend’s worth of appointments into long days before and after the lost days. And for restaurant owners, my husband included, the loss of a weekend is really brutal in an industry that relies on cash flow.

All of this to say: as soon as you safely can, be sure to show some love to your local small business owners.  Rebook your dinner reservations. Visit your local boutiques. Spend your snow day signing up for a spa daya workshop at your local yoga studio, or a teacher training!

Better yet, call ahead to find out who’s open, and enjoy a snowy hike into town. That’s what my parents did when I was a child in Buffalo, New York, in 1977. They pulled my brother and me over to the store in our sled, which we all dragged home loaded with groceries. If you’re in Carrboro/Chapel Hill, NC, I know Neal’s Deli plans to be open tomorrow. There’s nothing like an excellent sandwich—and the company of other locals—to fortify you for the snowy walk home.

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