Effects of a record-setting cold may linger for months.
2014’s brutal winter weather has been one of the worst on record across the United States, so much that it has caused almost $5 billion in damage ($2 billion above average) to homes, businesses, infrastructure and agriculture, reported USA Today.
the hardest are small business owners, who have faced dips in sales and income as
well as production and delivery delays. On top of that, they often have less
wiggle room in cash flow to compensate than bigger companies.
business owners push past the frigid polar vortex.
For Katy Kassian, who runs Buffalo Gals Mercantile in Regan, N.D., severe winter weather and closed roads presented a problem for order deliveries.
of my wholesale accounts dropped me because three weeks in a row, their baked
goods were delayed and not fresh,” Kassian says. Determined not to face a
similar issue again, she got in her Jeep and drove 75 miles north to
hand-deliver them to a client after her regular driver couldn’t get to her farm
Kimsey, owner of custom doll-clothes company Annique’s Nook in Wichita, Kan., relies
on employees coming to work to sew. But the first-year business was challenged
when snowstorms shut it down for three days.
was bad because our production schedule is completely full, and any shutdown
means orders go out late. Parents really aren’t happy when that happens,” Kimsey
says. “With our reputation on the line, it’s certainly a threat to our small,
spring, but lasting effects remain.
Consumers braved the weather only for the necessities, which caused canceled appointments and disappointing sales numbers for businesses such as veterinarians, optometrists, dentists, chiropractors, pet groomers, financial planners, restaurants and retail stores, says Michelle Pippin, a business consultant from Chesapeake, Va.
effect of reduced income and sales is wide-reaching, says David Goldin, CEO and
founder of New York City-based AmeriMerchant, which provides working capital
solutions for businesses. Without an emergency fund to cover the gap,
consequences may include hiring freezes, trouble keeping up with bills and inability
to repair weather damages to equipment or the building.
as much as they can, small business owners should strategize for next winter by
planning to monitor the weather closely, encouraging customers to order in
advance and attempting early deliveries whenever possible.