Weather hurt businesses, downtown merchants say

Published 9:14 am Friday, March 6, 2015

NW0306 DBA Version 2

As a snow and ice storm crept its way to the region, members of the Downtown Business Association talked during their meeting Thursday morning about how the recent bouts of winter weather hurt businesses in downtown.

Many businesses had to close their doors during the back-to-back snowstorms that covered the area with inches of snow, some ice and frigid temperatures in the middle of February, DBA President Cathy Shoun said.

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“It was a killer,” she said. “It was hard for people to get into to town to open ,and then there were no people out to shop. When we did get breaks in the weather, people all came out and wanted to walk around in our downtown to beat the cabin fever.”

The winter weather also had an impact on two events that were planned in downtown: the Valentine’s Card Exchange promotion for the businesses and the Share the Love event with the United Way.

Participation in the Valentine’s business promotion was higher than expected despite the weather, Events and Marketing Committee Chairwoman Jenny Kodak said. The DBA had expected about five businesses to participate, but 12 had signed up.

“Hopefully it went over really well,” Kodak said. “I haven’t heard back from some of the business about how it was for them. We had a huge problem with the weather.”

Kodak’s shop, Johnny and June’s, was closed for most of the two weeks of winter weather, she said. She explained the decision to close came out of concern for her employees’ safety. When the store was open for business, the Valentine’s card promotion was a hit, she said.

“Johnny and June’s felt like it was a success,” Kodak said. “We had customers come in because they had received one of our cards at another business. For the first promotion we have done, we feel it was a good one. Hopefully we can continue to do these, and the town will get used to us having them and more people will participate.”

The DBA will not hold a promotion in April. The next event will be held in May for Mother’s Day.

The Share the Love event for the United Way will continue until the end of March.

Share the Love, which features collection cans located in downtown businesses, was scheduled to end in February, but in light of the winter weather, Elizabethton/Carter County United Way Director Cheri Tinney plans to continue the fundraiser until the end of March.

“The weather did hurt us,” Tinney said. “We will continue this through March. Every little bit helps. Even having the canister on the counter shows support.”

In other news shared at the meeting:

τ The annual Legislative Breakfast will be held March 13 at 7:30 a.m. at the Elizabethton campus of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology. A limited number of tickets are available at the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call 547-3850.

τ The Covered Bridge Celebration will be held June 10-13. Wednesday and Thursday night will focus on nonprofit agencies, and Friday and Saturday will feature arts and crafts vendors. Music will be held nightly.

τ The Dine United campaign for the United Way continues through Sunday. Participating restaurants are Lonestar today, Dino’s from 1-4 p.m. and Chick-fil-A on Saturday and Primo’s from 4-9 p.m on Sunday.