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Snowstorm heaps more economic misery on stores

"Let's put it this way: Frozen yogurt is not the first thing that comes to mind in a snowstorm," says Aaron Gordon, who expects business at his two Tangysweet stores will be down for the next week.
"Let's put it this way: Frozen yogurt is not the first thing that comes to mind in a snowstorm," says Aaron Gordon, who expects business at his two Tangysweet stores will be down for the next week. (Bill O'leary/the Washington Post)
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"Virtually all meals are going to be at home," he said. "People plan for that."

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Hardware stores also enjoyed bustling business when they could open. Gina Schaefer's four Ace Hardware stores were closed Saturday but slammed on Friday and Sunday. Business on Monday was heavier than usual as Schaefer awaited a new shipment of shovels.

Ed Copenhaver, owner of Frager's Hardware of Capitol Hill, said the 90-year-old store rang up its biggest sales day on record Friday -- about $60,000. Frager's managed to stay open through the weekend, staffed by employees who could walk to work. At least one slept on site.

"It's a merchant's dream come true," Copenhaver said. "People are just pouring in. The phone won't stop ringing."

Several local entrepreneurs said they were determined to keep their businesses open as long as possible, even if it meant staffing the store by themselves.

"Not coming was not an option. I was literally going to walk," said Theresa Watts, owner of the Lettie Gooch clothing shop. "It's been up to me to get here and get the door open."

Amber Sutton, owner of Dogtopia, a dog day-care center in Woodbridge, said she slept on an air mattress on the floor of her office Friday and Saturday to take care of seven dogs that were boarding overnight. Now she's worried she'll have to spend another night or two with the dogs if the predictions for Tuesday hold true.

"It's so depressing," Sutton said. "It's likely I'll stay. The forecast doesn't sound good."

Staff writer Brady Dennis contributed to this report.


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