Blizzards advantageous for area businesses

WORTHINGTON -- With blustery winds creating blizzard conditions Thursday, thousands of local residents received a welcome day off from work and school.

WORTHINGTON -- With blustery winds creating blizzard conditions Thursday, thousands of local residents received a welcome day off from work and school.

But what can you do with a day off if travel is nearly impossible and businesses throughout town have closed early?

Order a pizza.

That was the word from Carolyn Landberg, manager at Worthington's Pizza Hut who, at 2 p.m., was still bustling with pizza orders and overseeing delivery drivers.

"It started right away this morning," said Landberg of orders coming in non-stop since its 11 a.m. opening. "It's been busy -- I think everyone else (pizza businesses) is closed."


Landberg said she was monitoring delivery drivers to make sure they were able to get around town OK, which was still the case by mid-afternoon.

"Until they tell me they're having troubles, we'll still deliver," she added.

A good old-fashioned blizzard is good for business, Landberg said, but it is also hard on employees.

"You're obviously short-staffed from people not being able to get in to work," she added.

At Worthington's Hy-Vee, shoppers braved the storm Thursday to stop in for the essentials such as bread and milk, as well as snack-type items and movies, said assistant manager Dale Winch.

"Before the storm hit, yesterday and the day before, we had real good business," Winch said. "Whenever they see a storm coming, they come in and get loaded up."

Although many businesses closed for the day -- or closed early -- because of the weather, Winch said they planned to stay open around-the-clock.

"We've got plenty of items on hand," said Winch, despite several trucks not being able to make deliveries to the store. Hy-Vee was, however, lacking rentals in the video department.


"Most of the real recent (movies) are gone," he added.

Holly Reker, assistant manager at Palace Video and tanning on North McMillan Street, said the store was busy between 9 a.m. and noon Thursday as people came in to rent movies as well as PlayStation II and Xbox 360 games.

"It's kind of slowing down now, basically because travel has slowed," Reker said at 3 p.m. "Snowstorms are good for business."

Reker said business had picked up already Wednesday night in anticipation of the storm. Parents and children were among those coming in to rent items, and Reker said the children were excited about having a snow day.

"I think they're looking for another one tomorrow (Friday)," she added.

Schools throughout southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa were closed Thursday, and given the forecast, it's quite possible they may be closed today as well. Continued snow showers and gusty winds are predicted to continue through the afternoon. Up to 16 inches of total accumulation is expected.

A host of area businesses also closed the doors Thursday, and all state offices were closed in southwest Minnesota counties. Among numerous other agencies and entities, Worthington's Prairie Justice Center closed its offices at 9 a.m.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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