Power Outage Was Costly To Tewksbury Small Businesses
Restaurants, small grocers were especially hard hit.
Tewksbury homeowners are well aware of the financial cost associated with last week's Snowtober power outages.
Also hit hard were the town's small businesses, especially those who deal in food service.
_Dawn Callahan, owner of T.J. Callahan's Pub_, said her power was out from Saturday at around 8 p.m. to Monday at around 6 p.m., costing her the better part of three days of business. But being without power also cost her large amount of food stock.
"We managed to save one of our freezers that was it," said Callahan. "We lost one of the freezers, we lost the refrigerators including our huge walk-in refrigerator."
Callahan estimates she lost around $3,000 worth of food, which, combined with the loss of business (including cancellation of the big Halloween party), puts her losses at around $10,000. She will get back a small percentage of that through insurance, something not all of the small businesses have to fall back on.
"We're one of the lucky ones," she said. "Pizza Mia lost (all their food) and didn't have the (insurance) coverage."
The same story, with differing levels of loss, was being told by small businesses throughout Tewksbury.
Robert Scarano, owner of Crystal General Store, said his power was out from Saturday at 8 p.m. through Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"We lost three full days at probably our busiest time of the week," he said.
Scarano said he lost all his dairy, ice creams, salads and pre-made foods. However, he said the losses could have been much worse. He said some of the areas in the store maintain a cold temperature, as long as the doors remain closed. In addition, his weekly shipment of cold cuts does not arrive until Tuesday.
Scarano said that having lived through extended power outages caused by the ice storm three years ago and Irene over the summer, small businesses have had to develop their own protocols for when the lights go out.
Pantelis Karakatsanis, _owner of Skewer's Wood Grill_ got his power back on around 5 p.m. Monday. While losing a couple of days of business hurt, he said he realizes he dodged a bullet, compared to some other places.
"Mostly what we lost was produce and fish," said Karakatsanis. One strategy employed by Karakatsanis that helped limit damage was to place as many refrigerated items as possible into the freezer as soon as the power went out. This added to the life expectancy of many of the items.
What was a loss for some businesses proved to be a boon for others. From the time the power went out on Saturday night, people began flocking to businesses that had lights on, looking for supplies and, in some cases, food. Restaurants along Route 38 near the 495 on interchange were packed for several days in a row because they were virtually unaffected by the storm and the power outages.
Callahan points out that the big chain's like McDonald's, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts can absorb the financial hit that comes with an extended power outage. It's the small businesses, the local merchants that take a real beating. With that in mind, she issued a plea for residents to stay loyal to the local businesses, especially though the holiday season, to help them recoup some of their losses.
"We're just asking people to stay local and buy local to help the Tewksbury businesses," she said.