Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

Businesses out with outage

Retail, restaurants feel pinch with loss of electricity

Minden's citywide power outage on October 11 was an inconvenience for local businesses and their customers. Yet, many continued to operate how businesses did before electric power, doing everything by hand.

"Of course we can't run a credit card, we can't run our cash register, but we did a little bit of business," said A.J. Price owner John Collins. "We could do no tires, because we had no air and no power."

However, Collins was very appreciative that power was restored as quickly as it was. "I understand that it was an accident that could have happened to anybody. It was inconvenient for everybody, but things like that happen and our people worked hard to get things back up and running," he said.

Curtis Mays, co-owner of 507 Grill on Main Street, shared similar sentiments to Collins.

"I know it's beyond their control and they did it as fast as they could," he said. "We just appreciate them getting the power back on as quickly as they did."

Estimations of when power would return varied.

"Some people were saying two hours," Mays said. "Some people were saying it could take as long as eight hours."

Denise Reagan of Reagan's RX Compounding Pharmacy on Homer Road said, "I wish they would have a number to call like the cable company, to hear recorded updates."

Reagan said she then would have known better when power returned to her business.

Not only locally-owned businesses were affected. Walmart Store Manager John Wimsatt said incomplete transactions were halted.

"Unfortunately, it was an inconvenience to some of the customers because the registers wouldn't work," he said.

Wimsatt had nothing but praise for his staff.

"The associates displayed tremendous teamwork," he said. "They had to basically strip down every single wall [in the grocery] onto pallets and put everything in the freezers. Then when the power came back on, they had to do everything in reverse."

When businesses are forced to shut down, financial losses are unavoidable.

According to Mays, restaurants like 507 Grill are particularly affected by power outages.

"Our lunch shift is from 11 till 2, so we pretty much lost our whole lunch shift." Mays said. "It depends on how the day was, but the loss could have been $500 to $700."

His employees were equally affected.

"I had to let everyone go home and just wait it out," he said. "They don't get the hours they were supposed to get. The waitresses don't get their tips."

With Collins' Hwy. 531 A.J. Price location closed all day and his Main Street location out of power for almost half the day, he may have lost as much as $4,000.

"I'm just guessing," he said. "It may be a little higher or may be a little lower."

Wimsatt said the shutdown cost Walmart around $40,000 in sales. However, he was impressed with his employees' and the public's handling of the situation.

Normally a power outage would result in lost stock.

"We didn't lose a single thing," he said.






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