The icy weather in metro Atlanta meant lost revenue for many businesses, but the impact is often greatest on small businesses.
Off Piedmont Road in Atlanta, Rhodes Bakery was closed Wednesday.
When it reopened on Thursday, owner Tom Rhodes said he saw a 50 percent decline in business.
“It slows things down when people can’t get out of their neighborhoods,” Rhodes said. “They aren’t going to try and get out and drive.”
When businesses have to close or lose revenue because of emergencies, some can’t afford to pay their hourly workers for the time missed.
Paul Wilson is a business consultant with the Small Business Development Center at Georgia State University.
“If you couldn’t physically get to work, that could have been two days of pay and for some people that’s very significant, depending on whether it’s minimum wage or even lower wage and you need those hours,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he advises clients to set up a fund to help their businesses stay afloat after emergencies. He said it could include money to pay hourly employees if it’s feasible for the business to promote loyalty and to be considerate.
Of the 400 Atlanta area small businesses his center helps, Wilson estimates fewer than 10 percent have funds set aside to deal with emergency situations.
Terri Denison is director of the Georgia office for the U.S. Small Business Administration and tells clients to be prepared.
“As one is doing their business planning and contingency planning, they [should] factor in the weather and the impact that it can have on their business and have some back-up plans,” Denison said.
But not all businesses are negatively impacted by bad weather. Ansley Wine Merchants in midtown Atlanta said they saw increased revenues as people rushed to stock up on liquor even though they were operating fewer hours than normal.
This story was provided by WABE.