Snow emergency affecting local business - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Snow emergency affecting local business

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LUCAS COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) -

With level three snow emergencies in northwest Ohio, many businesses have been forced to close their doors.

The icy roads have made for a rocky couple of days for some of the biggest commerce partners in Lucas County, including Chrysler and Med Mutual. If conditions continue into a third day, commissioners say the county could face half a billion dollars in revenue loss.

Commissioners say this is the longest stretch of a snow emergency staying at level three for the county. Chrysler's employee lots have been virtually empty as shifts have been canceled due to the snow emergency.

"They understand the safety of their employees comes over their product," said Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken. "We know this is a hardship for those people that may lose a couple days' wages on this, but that kind of pales in comparison to when it comes to the public safety."

Commissioners say they will continue to work with law enforcement agencies and city officials to get the city back up and running.

Some businesses say the storm is actually good news for them. Local mechanics and auto body shops see more business when people are getting in accidents or their car batteries are dying in the cold.

"We have a lot of people that don't take any more time to get to work," said Dawn Hilty, owner of Wingate Body Shop, Inc in Findlay. "We have people that may not take and leave a little bit more room between them and the car in front of them, give themselves a little bit more time to stop, because these roads are just ice right now."

But many others, such as local restaurants and small businesses had to close their doors for half the week, and they - along with their employees - are seeing a drop in profits because of it.

"That is two days out of five that that I work, so any given day it's anywhere from $40 to 70 to $80 in tips," said Jessica Hayes, a server at American Table.

"It makes me kind of feel frustrated because the bills keep coming and I have to catch up with the bills," said Elton Bregu, owner of American Table. "I have to pay all the employees sometime and the rent, everything."

And while car owners everywhere have been worrying about keeping their gas tanks full and the possibility of replacing frozen batteries, those costs were multiplied for local car dealerships.

On Wednesday, as temperatures rose above zero, employees at Rose City Motors were out scraping snow off cars and trying to start them. So far, they have had 10 cars that won't start. If the batteries won't take a jump, they'll have to be replaced - at a cost of $100-150 each.

"We have to dig the cars out," said salesman Matt Palwliski. "We key them all up, start them all, make sure fuel lines aren't froze up, make sure batteries aren't dead, move them all to one side of the lot, plow that half the lot, move them all to the other side of the lot, plow that, then eventually try to put them all back in line."

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