Storm cost could be tens of millions of dollars - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Storm cost could be tens of millions of dollars

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This week's second major snowstorm coupled with a record shattering arctic blast has cost Northwest Ohio a lot of money.

Businesses were closed for two days and that meant lost hours and lost sales and billions in lost revenue and it appears there is no assistance available from the federal, state or local government.

Small business owners make money only when they're open so losing two days business hurt.

Sandy Spang is a business owner and Toledo city council member.  She says the business cycle "is part of the roller coaster of being a small business person."

Spang owns Plate 21, a coffee shop in South Toledo.  She minimized her losses by ordering less inventory *before* the storm and reduced staff.   But she knows that hurt the people she relies on.  "It's also tough on hourly employees who lose their wages because the shops are closed."

Tony Packo's at the Park anticipated the weather and managers who normally get fresh deliveries each day cut back.

Manager Jeff Peterberger says, "We cut back on the chicken soup and vegetable soup and stuff like that."

And that affected distributors like Sam Okun and Company which had produce coming in every day. but couldn't ship it out.

Ten-trucks normally make runs each day;  yesterday, only one delivered.

Connie Feldstein says Okun is making deliveries again. "We're making it out a lot we're moving it out and we're getting it to everybody who needed it most first," she told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann.

Normally in a natural disaster, there's a lot of structural damage so the government will step in and provide some assistance.  But in a case like this most of the damage was economic.

For instance, Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken (D) says the Jeep plant may have lost $1-million an hour when the company lost 6-shifts over two days.

"This has been a crippling economic storm."

Gerken says Northwest Ohio may have lost tens of millions of dollars in revenue because of the storm  and there's no government program to bail out business.

Gerken said, "It's going to be difficult for a business to say I lost two days worth of customers, my breakfast, lunch and dinner crowd, can I get a check."

Nationwide, the economic impact could be as high as $5 billion.

But the hope is the best bailout is customers spending again.

And businesses will need those customers because there are added costs to plowing their parking lots and higher utility bills and loss of production and loss of sales.

But this is a slow time of year anyway so the damages may not be insurmountable.

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