Snowstorm buries small businesses in East Lansing, forces early shutdowns

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  • Snow from the sidewalk covers two waste bins on Grand River Avenue.
  • Snow and ice cover the Moosejaw Sign
  • Cars driving on recently cleared Grand River Avenue
  • Campus Town Mall sign covered in snow
  • Snow covers a tree outside of Michigan State Federal Credit Union on Grand River Avenue.
  • Snow covers the statue outside of Bubble Island on Grand River Avenue

For Georgio’s Pizza, the snowstorm was only part of a series of early closures this week. Wednesday’s snowfall forced several other businesses along Grand River Avenue to close early. The greater Lansing area received around 12 inches of snow, marking one of the heaviest snowfalls the area has seen. 

The Grand River location of Georgio’s Pizza, which has been open for only a little more than a year, was forced to shut down early on Tuesday, as well, due to power outages in the area. “It was terrible,” said Koula Nicolaou, an employee at Georgio’s. “A lot of strikes against small businesses these days.” When the snow hit the next day, business was already down for the week.

Flat, Black and Circular, a local CD and record store, was forced to close entirely due to the snow. Manager Jon Howard said he couldn’t get out of his neighborhood to open the store. Normally, Howard sees 30 to 40 customers per day. The day after the storm started out “super slow” with only one customer and two phone calls in the first hour. Howard, however, is optimistic about the business he will see in the immediate future saying he expects an influx of traffic to the store over the weekend.

While some businesses hope to recover lost profits in the days preceding the storm, some businesses saw an uptick in traffic before the storm. Moosejaw, an outdoor goods store in East Lansing, saw 20-30 more people Tuesday preparing for the storm. Aaron Leonard, general manager of Moosejaw, said that the better business was expected. “Thankfully, we’re kind of affected positively by bad weather just because people need to prepare,” said Leonard. Despite the increased demand for winter gear, Moosejaw still saw slower business on Thursday. 

With city workers plowing roads and clearing sidewalks, businesses expect a quick turnaround. Leonard said, “It’s usually slow for a few days until the roads are clear and people are more comfortable getting out and about in the community.”

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