Businesses worry snow will impact Valentine's business

BALTIMORE - Many area businesses aren't feeling the love this Valentine's day.

And it's all because of snow with businesses worried about the potential negative impact the winter weather will have on their bottom line.

Christie Smertycha isn't taking any chances.

She has three days worth of clothing packed for work. As the manager of Jack's Bistro in Canton, she wants to be ready for the holiday crowd and the pending snow. 

"We're prepared to sleep here, " she said. "We plan to be open and we plan to seat customers."

Smertycha isn't alone.

As the owner of The Modest Florist in Hampden, Libby Francis-Baxter has been working overtime to get flower orders ready.

"I'll be here until the cows come home," she said. "Flowers are a beautiful thing."

While simultaneously building a flower bouquet with fresh orange flowers, she has been telling new customers a very important detail: "Please pick-up early, the snow is coming."

Two days before Valentine's Day, she's also stopped guaranteeing Friday delivery.

Keith Scott, president of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce, said snow causes a psychological restrain for many customers who might think twice about venturing our on Valentine's Day.

" Overall, I think Baltimore does a good job with its main arteries, making sure the main roads are clear," he said. "Still people see snow and think it might be better to stay in. That can have a huge impact on local businesses."

Scott added that as the snow clears up, hopefully residents will come out Saturday or Sunday, to recoup the day they missed because of the weather.

To ensure their staff doesn't get stuck in the snow,  Shawn Whetzen, manager of the restaurant Birrotecca outside of Hampden, said he is contemplating closing down Thursday night in preparation of Friday.

"We don't want our staff stuck driving home or even stranded," he said. "Safety is always our first priority."
Smertycha said sleeping over at Jack's Bistro isn't new.

With an apartment above the business, she says it helps out in weather-related events.

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