By Melissa Proulx, Staff Writer
Students at the University of New Hampshire aren’t the only ones being impacted by all the snow as of late. For businesses in downtown Durham, the extreme New England winter has proved to be an extra challenge.
“It’s pretty to look at, but it’s a hassle to deal with, definitely,” said Franz Guest, owner of Franz’s Food. “I think everybody’s tired of it.”
In the last month alone, the Durham area has received not just inches, but feet of snow. According to the Friday, Feb. 6 newsletter on the town website, Durham received 47 inches of snow on the ground during the week of Monday, Feb. 2.
“I was just shoveling the back porch… and dumping the snow over, but there’s not a lot places to put it,” said Wendy Brooks, co-owner of Main Street Makery.
While UNH has curtailed operations four times since the Spring semester started, most of the businesses only shut down for a day during the biggest storm thus far, Juno. Guest and Brooks, along with their Main Street neighbors, Kaitlyn Basset, who owns Red Carpet Flower Shop, and Donna Guerrette, who owns the Candy Bar, all stayed close during the worst of that late January blizzard.
Guerette and her husband, Chris, purchased the Candy Bar back in December, and she says it’s been a crash course in starting to run the business with all the unusual weather. As a mother of two children, she said it can be somewhat of an added stress having to make sure her children are taken care of if school is canceled.
With much of her work based around deliveries, Bassett, who has owned her business for the last two years, says that she’s often been unable to make the trek because of the poor road conditions.
“It’s been difficult because a lot of the time, the arrangements are for birthdays or anniversaries, which call on a particular date and a lot of people are still expecting to get those deliveries out,” she said. “So when we have to call them and say, ‘I’m so sorry, we can’t do it because of the snow,’ sometimes they’re a little irritated. Other times, they’re completely understanding because we live in New England where it’s pretty unpredictable.”
Bassett also said that the cold weather and snowy conditions have also reduced the amount of foot traffic on Main Street, and thus the number of walk-ins as a result.
“When the weather is so bad, people don’t want to come out, they don’t want to come downtown, they don’t want to leave their houses,” Bassett said. “So our walk in traffic is nothing.”
But there have been some positives for the Candy Bar.
“[On Monday, Feb. 9, the college students] came in in a group,” Guerrette said. “We had some that had been sledding and had come back for hot coco.”
Bassett also does her part to help brighten the mood by scattering many of her extra flower petals outside the business’ entrance.
“It looks too ‘blah’, it’s gross. Everyone’s so sick of the snow,” Bassett said. “So I try to just throw a little color on the sidewalk.”