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Winter Weather Costing Local Restaurants Business
Local businesses are saying this winter's harsh storms are causing problems and costing money. But a weekend dedicated to love, might be just what they needed for business to pick up.
The roads downtown aren't as clear as some of the more heavily traveled streets and local restaurant owners are pointing their fingers towards that as the reason for the recent slump in business, saying people don't want to venture out with such dangerous driving conditions ahead of them. This weekend, however, may change that story.
The wicked winter weather has caused Central Illinois its fair share of problems so far.
"It's been very bad compared to other winters," said Mike Coffey, owner of Saputo's Italian Restaurant.
Hundreds of vehicles have slid into ditches and side rails from icy roads, but it seems some people have learned their lesson.
"Too cold and the snow, fighting the snow on the roads is dangerous and scary," said Chef/Owner of Augie's Front Burner, August Mrozowski.
Businesses downtown Springfield are reeling from the lack of customers due to the wintery mess outside.
"The weather's been very bad for business," said Coffey. "It's kind of a fine line whether you can get around the local streets or not compared to the interstates."
"There were two days last month I had to close because of it," said Mrozowski.
All this, making restaurant owners frustrated.
"People follow the weather advisories and we wonder because we can get down to work and our employees can get down to work, but they're telling everybody to stay home," said Coffey.
"We had quite a few reservations," said Mrozowski. "We had a total of 40 no-shows, which was a little outrageous for this time of the year. I mean, you expect a few, but that was quite a bit... I've seen that a lot this year, not just yesterday, but from January on."
"One night in particular, we had like 80 people cancel, so its a pretty major impact that last two and a half weeks on our business," said Coffey.
It's not just these two feeling the heat.
"Pretty much everyone downtown, you know, even my other restaurant, there were some days I hardly did anybody," said Mrozowski.
But even the giant storm that hit on Valentine's Day couldn't keep many from celebrating, and it may be giving these restaurants exactly what they needed, a little spike in business.
"We were full last night... full tonight, we'll be full all week, full tomorrow night," said Coffey.
"It was still a very, very impressive night," said Mrozowski.
Other business owners have agreed, like True Colors Floral Artistry on the west side of Springfield. They say, although the snow slowed deliveries down some, the booming business was a welcome sight for their floral shop.
Those downtown restaurants say despite the lack of business this holiday, the warmer weather that we are supposed to see next week will help bring more people to their tables.