East Texas area businesses close doors due to icy, hazardous conditons

Published on Monday, 3 March 2014 20:53 - Written by Casey Murphy, cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

A few local businesses decided to close or open late Monday while others opened for “business as usual.”

Companies such as Home Depot and Lowe’s opened on time Monday.

Shawn Adar, assistant store manager at Lowe’s, said he drove to the store at about 3:30 a.m. to open the store at 6 a.m.

“It wasn’t that bad really,” he said.

A few employees called in to work because of the roads, and the day started out a little slower than usual, he said. But by 10 a.m., Lowe’s had sold four pallets of ice-melt products. He said they also sold a lot of ice-related products Sunday, before the bad weather hit.

Since his three years as manager, Adar said he hasn’t seen a weather event like Sunday’s, but people still were coming to shop.

“I thought it would be slower,” he said.

Chris Clinton, specialty assistant manager at Home Depot, said the business opened on time for “business as usual.”

On Monday morning, he said it had started off as a pretty typical day, although they had seen a few more customers coming in for products such as ice melt and shovels.

He said he expected more customers to come in as roads improved.

Matt Blocker, executive team leader at Target, said business started out a little slower than usual but was starting to pick up by mid-morning, and he expected it to get better as the day went on. About a third of the store’s employees expected to work Monday called in because of the conditions.

Blocker said he wasn’t seeing customers buying more weather-related items and the first five customers that braved the weather were just buying essentials, like toilet paper.

Some restaurants closed because of the weather.

Both Don Juan restaurants, as well as Mariscos DJ’s, didn’t open for business.

“We decided to stay closed,” Angel Alfaro, who, along with his wife, runs the Don Juan El Original restaurant on East Erwin Street. “It’s best for our employees to stay home with their loved ones. When the roads get better, we will be open tomorrow at normal hours.”

He said it is the first time all three restaurants have closed because of weather.

The Stand restaurant in Gresham was forced to close Monday.

“After seeing cars in the ditches and me falling and sliding down my driveway, and our delivery truck being stranded, and pulling up to the giant ice ring that used to be our parking lot, and our employees being stuck at home, I still wasn’t sure we should close,” owner Stephan du Toit posted on his Facebook page. “Until The Stand wouldn’t let me unlock the door … OK we are closed today … be safe.”

He posted a picture of his keys unable to go into the lock.

Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas closed its offices for the safety of its staff, which President/CEO Mechele Mills said is its most valuable resource.

“Our general rule is if the school and local government offices are closed, we will close as well,” she said.

Urology Tyler PA decided to close its offices in Olympic Plaza Tower “due to the concern of our patients and our employees’ safety,” administrator Melissa Manning said. “We have always followed the Tyler ISD closing policy, because we think if it is not safe for school buses to run then it is not safe for our employees and patients to be on the roads either.”

While some closed their doors for the day, other businesses delayed opening.

Trinity Clinic physician offices opened at 10 a.m.

“Patient and employee safety are our first concerns when dealing with inclement weather,” said Will Knous, public information officer for Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics.

“Our Mother Frances Hospital and diagnostic operations at Healthpark Plaza are open and staffed to meet the community need today,” he said. “Our Trinity Clinics throughout the region are opening according to the local conditions, keeping our patients and employees in mind.”

Spokeswoman Ashley Pearce said Broadway Square Mall opened Monday, but individual retailers were not obligated to open at 10 a.m. She said each store employee should contact their supervisor and make the decision on when it is safe to travel to the property.

“We want our shoppers and employees to take every precaution to be safe,” she said.