Small businesses weather storm, cold snap

Broad Ripple Canine Design lost three days because of the storm.

A week after a near-record snowfall shut down much of the city, the Department of Public Works is still tallying the costs in the hopes of qualifying for federal disaster assistance.

A DPW spokesperson says those costs are expected to be at least $4.8 million, which is above the $3.16 million threshold.

Businesses, too, are counting their losses.

With the snow nearly gone, things are finally getting back to normal at Nordholt Heidenreich Florist on the city's south side. But Doug Nordholt says the effects of the storm are still being felt.

"It definitely cuts into profits and creates more costs," he said, noting the sub-zero temperatures meant their heating bill would be higher this month.

The storm shut down the shop for two days, and even after it reopened, deliveries were slow-going.

Nordholt said, "A lot of the major roads were clear but the east/west streets were a problem and rough."

Another challenge the florist faced was delivering fragile flowers and plants in record-cold weather.

Nordholt said while it's hard to put a dollar figure on those lost days, "They're usually just lost. You really don't make them up in the flower business."

Maria DuFour, who owns a restaurant in Irvington, closed early Sunday and opened late Tuesday (her restaurant is closed Mondays.)

DuFour says even with several regulars traipsing through the snow to get to her place, last week was "definitely a slow week."

She guesses she had half the normal customers, but adds she in no way faults the city for the bad road conditions that kept other people away.

"No, not the way it was coming down. We hadn't had such a big snowstorm in such a long time," DuFour said. "And then the freezing. I can see why it was such a mess and the snow wasn't melting."

Still, she did struggle when the mayor asked businesses to stay closed Tuesday.

"It was probably a good thing to stay off the roads like he asked, but again with the economy and everything else, if you can open... but my main concern was the people who needed a place to eat," she said.

Broad Ripple Canine Design lost three days because of the storm. While they've been busier than ever since then, groomer Curt Herrell said, "The weather hurt us. We're not paid hourly but by the job."

He said even though they're still catching up, "you can only (groom) so many (dogs in a day.) We're not a chop shop. We take a lot of pride in our grooms."

Like others who lost time on the job last week, Herrell hopes its winter that now takes a break and preferably, a long one.