A few businesses open their doors during the storm
Not much commerce happened on Tuesday, particularly in the morning hours when the snow was falling hard and a travel ban was in place.
But those who did wander out might’ve discovered a business or two open.
Adam Campos, manager of the Bean & Leaf coffee shop on Bank Street in New London, bundled up Tuesday for his morning commute.
“I put on like three layers of pants, four layers of shirts, two scarfs, two pairs of gloves. I basically left a little slit for my eyes,” said Campos, who walked to work. “I considered riding my mountain bike but I changed my mind as soon as I stepped out the door.”
The shop opened later than usual, 8 a.m. rather than 6 a.m. By 11 a.m., Campos had seen some customers but admitted business had been slow.
“I can count on both of my hands how many customers I’ve had. Pretty much everybody’s gotten either coffee or tea. I haven’t had too much to do,” he said by telephone.
Campos said the downtime would give him time to get to other work that he’s too busy for on a regular morning, like prepping soups and making chai.
Bean & Leaf was offering free coffee to any police officers, firefighters, snow plow drivers or any other emergency response workers.
Two Wives Pizza and the Dutch Tavern opened around lunchtime.
Zambala Grocery Store in New London also was open for business, as they have been during all the major snow storms and hurricanes of recent memory, said store employee Tenzing Pema.
“People think I’m crazy,” said Pema, who lives next door to the store. “When I came in first, I was debating, should I open?”
She said she had a few customers before 9 a.m., mostly people braving the wind and snow in search of coffee.
“They need coffee. A lot of people come in for coffee and beer. Not a lot of (other) cold drinks,” Pema laughed. “Slowly they say ‘now that I know you’re open, I’ll let my friends know.’”
Joshua Hayslip, a resident of downtown New London, was bundled up and on his way to shovel out the Custom House when he stopped in to the grocery store.
“I was walking down the street and I needed cigarettes, I saw the pathway and the ‘open’ sign,” said Hayslip.
Pema said compared that to other storms today is not so bad, despite drifts in front of the store being taller than her, between 5 and 6 feet high in places.
“The problem is the wind, and when the snow hits you in the face” said Hiram Ramos, who lives across the street from Zambala and came to shovel a path from State Street to the store’s front door. “Every ten minutes you’ve got to go (shovel) again.
“It’s bad, but people like (the snow),” Ramos said. “ They want to have fun today.”
At Tom’s News in Stonington Borough, the phone rang at 5:15 a.m. Tuesday morning.
“Good morning, Tom’s,” answered owner Tom Rezendes.
“There’s no papers. I don’t think we’ll be getting any today,” he told the caller.
Rezendes maintained the same routine through Hurricane Sandy, so this snowstorm wasn’t going to stop him from coming into his shop at 1 a.m.
“I’ve already had a few people come in for coffee and cigarettes. We aim to please,” he said Tuesday morning.
Rezendes said his customers usually walk down to pick up their papers but Tuesday they called first. So why was Rezendes one of the few businesses open? “What am I going to do, sit home and worry? I don’t want to disappoint people,” he said.
Rezendes was worried he would not get his milk delivery. “They wiped me out (Monday),” he said about his customers.
Plow drivers and snow shovelers in Norwich who needed a respite from the storm could find it at Poppy & Rye Bakery Café.
Co-owner Bob Adams was running solo but opened on time at 6 a.m. with muffins, bagels, breakfast sandwiches and a few loaves of the store’s signature Russian rye bread and other breads.
“It’s been busy,” Adams said. “It’s just me. I had to come in anyway to do my prep work for tomorrow, so we’re open.”
The bakery usually is open until 6 p.m. on weekdays, but at noon he said he might close in “an hour or two.”
Foxwoods Resort Casino announced on its website that most of its gaming areas were closed Tuesday, including the Festivals, Fox Tower, Great Cedar, Rainmaker and Stargazer casinos. Bingo, keno, poker and the racebook were shut down as were most restaurants and retail shops, except Essentials and Grand Effects. The Rainmaker Garage also was closed.
Norwich Spa at Foxwoods and G Spa were open on a limited basis. The casino said it will allow guests with room reservations for Tuesday and Wednesday to cancel them free of charge.
A Mohegan Sun spokeswoman said the casino remained open, with the hotel at 83 percent of total occupancy. She said patrons should visit the casino’s website to check on closings of specific restaurants and shops.
Brian Hallenbeck and Claire Bessette contributed to this report.
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