Businesses in Amherst endure the October snowstorm

By Staff

Michael Mullen/Collegian

The power outages brought on by Saturday’s snowstorm affected Amherst Center businesses in different ways, from wiping out several days’ worth of potential business for some to bringing in a sudden rush of customers for others.

This rang especially true for the new establishment White Hut on Boltwood Walk, which delayed opening for the first time because of the storm.

“We were supposed to open on Tuesday,” said Bobby Barkett, owner of the burger joint with his brother E.J.

“The storm affected all our inspections and deliveries completely,” Barkett said. White Hut opened on Thursday instead.

Among the hardest hit by the blizzard were Judie’s and Monkey Bar. The establishments didn’t regain electricity until Tuesday morning, both reported.

“In 34 years that we’ve been here, we’ve never had anything like this,” said Katie Eagan, co-owner and business manager of Judie’s, “We were thinking it would just be a temporary thing, but we just took it one shift at a time.”
Monkey Bar lost power on Saturday night while they were still open, said bartender Megan Emrick.

“Halloween is the third-biggest night of the year for bars,” she said, “We had private parties booked for the night and for the next day, so that was a huge loss.”
“We lost a lot of food – pretty much everything. The owners were here at 6 in the morning in the dark, ordering new food,” Emrick said.
Antonio’s was one of the only restaurants open on Sunday.

“We lucked out because we had gas ovens, so we were able to cook food all day long,” said employee Mike Cordeiro. “By 11:30 we had a line out the door that didn’t stop all day long. It was more like a typical busy day for us.”
Hodges Apellido of the Black Sheep Deli also said that the storm brought a boom in business for his store.

“We took care of all the refugees, and it introduced a lot of people that weren’t familiar with the store since we were one of the only places open,” he said. “People were charging their stuff here, our electricity bill will probably be huge. But sales were awesome.”

Many restaurants regained power before some Amherst residents, which led many people to head to the establishments for their meals.

“We were mobbed on Tuesday,” said Eagan, “It would never make up for what we lost, but we were just glad to be there for the community.”
Cordeiro echoed that sentiment.

“If we sold out of everything we had, we were going to do it, because we needed to be there as a staple for the community,” he said, “All in all it was just a day at work for us, but for most people that came in, it was the first hot meal in 24 hours, and the only one they were going to get. It was really fulfilling in that aspect, and customers were unbelievably polite and gracious.”

Antonio’s was open late that night, stringing up lights to keep going in the dark, said Cordeiro.

“A lot of good came out of it,” said Eagan, “We got a real sense of community, and it wasn’t the end of the world.”

Lauren Vincent can be reached at [email protected]