Carrollton, Ga. was hit by the winter storm last Tuesday around 10 a.m. with snow starting to stick to the roads shortly after. The University of West Georgia and most local businesses stayed open because they were not sure what the storm had in store. When 11:40 a.m. reached, UWG urged students via email to leave campus as soon as possible due to road conditions worsening by the minute. The storm, although expected, came in much quicker than anticipated. The state of Georgia did not take the precautions necessary to prepare motorist or roads for the weather.
Trips that usually take motorist five minutes were taking hours if not more.
“It took an hour and 30 minutes to get from here [302 South Street] to the other side of the college,” said Jacob Skelton, one of the owners at 302 South Street. “The snow shut down everything.”
Most local business closed early or sent employees home who were not able to walk to their homes.
“We had to close early Tuesday and we stayed closed Wednesday,” said Skelton. “Time is money.”
Many local restaurants experienced the same issue. With the snow and ice making it impossible to drive, neither customers nor employees were able to make it to their destinations.
“Nobody really could get out. We couldn’t get any employees out more so than getting any customers,” says Skelton, “Everybody was out walking but nobody could get to work.”
Other local restaurants like La Salsa and La Trattoria were able to open, although under staffed, and were very busy with customers. The local restaurants that were open saw a huge increase in sales due to the lack of competition. The Irish Pub was able to open due to one employee that was able to walk and open the kitchen while the owner was not able to make it up there. UWG closed dining halls earlier than normal due to being short staffed.
“Everyday you’re closed, the building is still heating and cooling itself,” said Skelton. “All that stuff doesn’t stop.”
Businesses were at a standstill and are still being impacted by the storm. Trucks that usually run supplies or food were either unable to make it due to road conditions or lack of employees.
The entire metro Atlanta area was not able to receive mushrooms due to trucks being stuck in too cold of conditions and caused the entire contents of the truck to freeze.
Although the snow was a huge shut down for the city and local business, it could be viewed as a positive event.
“We had a really awesome Thursday when we opened the doors back up,” said Skelton.
“Sales were abnormally high for a Thursday and Friday in January.”
People were more willing to go out and spend money on food or other items since they were not able to for a couple of days.