CHICAGO (CBS) — The frigid temperatures may be subsiding, but the financial fallout for businesses is just now being tabulated.
The city is recovering from some of the most brutal cold it’s experienced in decades, getting out and about again, but the recovery for some businesses could take much longer.
Josie Favia has been working at her family’s grocery and deli in Edison Park since she was five years old. They set out to weather the brutal weather Wednesday.
“We really wanted to make a point to be open for the city workers, first responders,” she said.
And they did — for a while — before closing three hours early when the customers just weren’t there, which means a typical day’s cash register receipts weren’t there either.
“People did come out, and we were here,” she said. “But I would say definitely at least half a drop in business, a third to half.”
The empty storefront wasn’t the only cold weather casualty for Toni’s deli. A rooftop compressor froze, causing coolers to fail and repairs to ring up.
“It could be hundreds. It could be thousands of dollars, so at the end of the day you just kind of have to weather through it all,” Favia said.
On the South Side at Lakeshore Beverage’s warehouse, workers are scrambling to make up for lost delivery time.
“This is the first time that I’ve been here that we’ve ever been shut down two consecutive days, so sure, it’s going to hit your bottom line,” said Todd Scheel with Lakeshore Beverage.
Scheel says they closed to keep beer from freezing and delivery people safe, but drivers make around 900 stops a day, and customers still want their product.
“It puts extra pressure, obviously, on the company to catch up tomorrow and then open the doors on Saturday,” he said. “Normally we can get 99 percent of our beer delivered Monday through Friday.”
Making up for lost time translates to extra staff and unanticipated overtime for the company.
Some owners and managers say if this happens once in a blue moon they can likely absorb much of the cost, but if it happens again and again, that would be a different story.