Bartow business community reflects on snow days
by Jason Lowrey
Feb 14, 2014 | 1832 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Late morning Thursday, a convoy of utility trucks travel west on U.S. Highway 411 toward Rome near Hardin Bridge Road. JESSICA LOEDING/The Daily Tribune News
Late morning Thursday, a convoy of utility trucks travel west on U.S. Highway 411 toward Rome near Hardin Bridge Road. JESSICA LOEDING/The Daily Tribune News
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As the last of the snow melts away today, businesses across Bartow County are working to make up for the days lost to sleet, ice and snowdrifts.

In a series of emailed comments, local businesses reflected on how they were able to, in some cases, work through the second snowstorm in less than a month, or how they plan to get back on track.

Jessica and Billy Fleetwood, of Fleetwood Security and Electronic Services, mentioned a running theme for some businesses owners: technology allowed them to continue working from home.

“As a service and installation company, being able to get to our customers when they need us is vital to our businesses. With today’s technology, we have been able to take care of our customers’ needs remotely and keep our employees safe at the same time,” they said.

Denise Castro, of Denise Castro, CPA & Associates, also relied on working from home to keep up with tax season.

“The snow really slowed foot traffic into our offices,” she said. “Since all of our files get digitized, we were able to keep bundled up and work from home. Unfortunately, Uncle Sam doesn’t care if it’s snowing. We have to get those taxes finished.”

However, many businesses were not in a position to work from home, regardless of technology.

In the case of Nicole and Jason Hughes, owner of C&C Gutters, the snow affected their customers, and in turn their business.

“The negative impact is that other contractors get pushed back on jobs — painting, siding, roofing — which pushes us behind. The positive impact is that we get to enjoy good family time. It also shows how well their gutters are functioning when the snow melts,” they said.

“As a self-employed stylist, I use the weather forecasts to call, when to reschedule client appointments that were in place on the past snow-ice days,” said Ann King, a makeover diva and stylist at Fringe Salon. “It’s a balancing act to reshuffle time slots and accommodate clients. I am now on my third day of rescheduling the rescheduled to salvage the week in a day and a half.”

With the snow and slush on the roads, some clients simply could not make it out.

“Client services have been affected due to the snow,” Linda Crist, of Odds and Ends Senior and Pet Care, said. “I have a home-based business that requires on-site client visits, which could not be done during the winter storm.”

“Our business depends on traffic, and when roads are closed or impassable, it severly hurts our business,” Matt Laughridge of the Terry Reid Automotive Group said. “But, we were able to use this snow time to let our employees spend some extra quality time with their families. It was great seeing everyone’s photos and hearing about home-cooked meals during the storm. We are back at work and eager to earn your business.”

Gary Floyd said United Community Bank was able to partially operate throughout the storm.

“We have been [open] some every day of this week. We worked together to service our customers and make sure our employees were safe. We were all able to enjoy the snow and the serenity that comes with that,” he said.

When it concerned the roads, Jonathan Martin, of Martin’s Garage and Wrecker Service, praised the Georgia Department of Transportation and county services for why he was not as busy during the recent storm.

“It’s difficult to say if the snow helped or hurt our business. However, I was able to help transport nurses to and from the hospital at all hours of the night,” he said. “GDOT and [Bartow] County Road Department made the roads passable, and it made me feel good to be able to give back to such an awesome community.”

Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce Chair Adena Harper said she could not yet estimate what the total dollar amount of business lost to the January and February snowstorms.

“I would say there will be some effects, and I’m sure over the next couple of weeks we will see what they are. A lot of our chamber events have been rescheduled at least two or three times. So I think once we get through winter break, it’ll be back to normal,” she said.

If the snow had one benefit, Harper added, it was the increased time employees and business owners spent with their families. Chamber President and CEO Joe Frank Harris Jr. echoed those thoughts.

“If you’ve been able to spend time with your family, it’s kind of like a forced vacation. But you will come back refreshed, ready to work harder and [you’ll] see your productivity on the other side will be greater,” he said.

Harris added he believed Bartow County business owners would bounce back from the weather-induced shutdowns.

“I find entrepreneurs in Bartow County are very resourceful and generally have very positive attitudes. But I can assure you for the foreseeable future they will be better prepared. I know this second round of snow, for example, everybody was far more prepared,” he said.

One of those business owners, Larry Jennings of First Response Plumbing, was already looking past this week.

“The snow has affected our business because we have not been able to get out with our vehicles and assist our customers,” he said. “We have had a negative impact due to snow, but we know that this is only for a few [days] of inconvenience.”