7:56am

Tue April 1, 2014
Business

Winter dealt a blow to some North Country businesses

The relentless snow that pounded part of the North Country this past winter kept kids out of school and people home. That also meant a hit for some businesses in the region.

Lori Wells co-owns Café Mira, a restaurant in Adams, south of Watertown. The eatery employs about a dozen people and is only open four days a week. So when Wells and her partner, Lisa Reed, had to make the call three times this winter to not open, that was a hit to their business.

They hadn’t had to close at all in the four years they’ve been owners, Wells said.

"It was hard," she said. "The last time we did it I was like, ‘not again, really?’ But it happens I guess in the North Country."

On nights they were open, sometimes deliveries would be late because of poor driving conditions. Wells recalls Valentine's Day, when the delivery truck arrived only an hour before dinner time.

"The weather was bad and they were behind and just got there right before we opened and it was a headache from the second we started," Wells said.

Energy costs have also dealt a blow, she said. Their bill was nearly $500 more a month because of the cold temperatures.

"I will say this has been the roughest year since we’ve had the business," Wells said.

Winter is Café Mira’s busy season, Wells said, with holiday parties and no seasonal summer competition.

The local Chamber of Commerce says people being snowed in all winter has had a trickle-down effect on several business sectors in the region.

"Business is affected because people aren't out there doing the day-to-day stuff," said Greater Watertown Chamber of Commerce President Lynn Pietroski.

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