Stores lose business due to blizzard - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Stores lose business due to blizzard

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - This week's blizzard hit at a terrible time for retailers.  We're in the thick of the holiday shopping season - a time when merchants bank on a steady stream of shoppers.  That's why closing their stores - even for a few hours Wednesday - is costly.

At Kitchen Essentials and Gifts in Cedar Falls, the holiday season is when the store gets most of its business.  But this week's blizzard caused it to close for the first time Wednesday.

"It felt kind of strange to be not here and to be closed but I couldn't get out of my driveway to get here," said owner Gretchen Behm.

Behm says many of her neighboring business owners on Main Street also shut down Wednesday.  Still, she says there's some silver lining.

"Last year, it snowed every single weekend in December and I was happy that it happened on Tuesday and Wednesday and not the weekend because the weekend is the biggest shopping time every week," said Behm.

At Crossroads Center in Waterloo, the mall closed around 4pm Wednesday. Managers say there simply weren't very many shoppers and they wanted to make it easier for workers to get home.

"Any day lost is probably one you're not going to get back," said mall General Manager Gary Ogzewalla.

Ogzewalla says most stores agreed that closing early was the right call Wednesday.

"Even one day is a difficult thing because this is the time of year the merchants, the retailers are trying to make their year so that's one of the reasons we're very careful about not closing unless we absolutely have to," said Ogzewalla.

Now, the snow's been cleared away and the shoppers are back looking to buy that perfect Christmas gift.  While many retailers are looking ahead to this weekend, the busiest online shopping day of the year is Saturday.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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