WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Like most Westchester County residents, local business owners have grown frustrated with Mother Nature as the onslaught of snow has led to more work and less traffic heading in and out of their doors.
The winter wonderland that is Westchester has forced some business owners to close down at times, while creating additional work for all. Whether it’s clearing snow, salting sidewalks or navigating slippery roads and parking spots, the weather has created havoc in the workplace.
Sanju Kanam, the owner of New Rochelle Wines, said that when snow and ice come, safety becomes his priority. During storms, he arrives at his store at least an hour earlier than usual to clear out the sidewalk in front of his store and spread additional salt.
“You can’t have customers slipping, or falling, because they’ll get hurt and it could lead to a lawsuit. You also have to make sure that people can actually get to your door, so there’s a lot of shoveling to the street,” he said. “It just creates more of a mess for everyone and other people choose to just stay home.”
With so much snow accumulating within the past month, parking issues have become a problem business owners have been forced to solve. Street parking has become hazardous, as plows have directed snow to the sides of the road, and parking lots now feature mountains of snow that can eliminate valuable spots.
“We haven’t had a real big dip in sales, but things get absolutely crazy outside,” Eastchester Starbucks employee Courtney Ferguson said. “It’s really tough to find a spot, and because of the snow and ice, some people are parked dangerously and in odd angles.”
Restaurant owners face a separate challenge, as their ingredients may spoil, and must be included in a recipe within a timely fashion.
Leslie Lampert, who owns Ladle of Love and Café of Love in Mount Kisco, said that the snow has created an excess of downtime, which she and her staff is fervently trying to make the most of.
“It’s been challenging, particularly in my business, where I’m in the perishables business. The restaurant business is unique in that way, (because) you don’t recover the day” she said. “Mother Nature gives us the opportunity to focus on other things. We launched our new website, we painted and finished all these things that usually have to wait until the summer.”
Although Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow earlier this month, predicting six more weeks of winter, some relief may be on the way sooner, as more temperate weather is expected to hit the area, according to the National Weather Service.
Juan Gonzalez, who operates the Mobil gas station in Scarsdale, said warmer weather cannot come soon enough.
“I’m sick of seeing snow every time I look out my window,” he said. “It just complicates everything; work, driving, even walking. Bring on the summer already."
Brian Donnelly and Danny LoPriore contributed to this report.