With storm approaching, businesses must decide whether or not to open

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While city officials make the call to enforce parking bans, it’s up to individual business owners to decide whether or not to open up shop during a big storm.

With a nor’easter expected to bring significant snowfall on Thursday, local businesses had varied strategies on how to take on the snow.

Philippe Maatouk, owner of Kartabar on Thayer Street, made the call ahead of time to stay closed.

“It’s going to kill the business definitely,” he said. “It’s a hard one, actually, tomorrow. I think people, they’re afraid to go out tomorrow.”

Maatouk also blamed the city’s past parking bans for potentially slowing business.

“I know there is safety, they are going to do their job, the city, and we appreciate this,” Maatouk explained. “But at the same time, like last time it was 12:01 a.m., and it wasn’t bad, the storm, last time.”

Providence’s parking ban will go into effect at 2 a.m. on Feb. 9 for the impending storm.

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Maatouk said closing Kartabar leaves 24 employees at home.

Karen Beebe, owner of Queen of Hearts, was also considering her employees as she contemplated closing her clothing store on Westminster Street.

“When we lose sales, you know, trickle-down effect, to the sales taxes lost, to employees,” she said. “They’re not coming into work, they’re not getting paid. So it really does affect everybody.”

Beebe hopes to make any lost revenue back through giving customers good bargains after the storm – such as the Valentine’s Day promotion she said she already had planned.

The Queen of Hearts has only had to close once this year for bad weather, according to Beebe.

“Last year we had a really mild winter,” she added. “The year before we were closed every Monday for six weeks.”

Beebe said she will make a decision Thursday morning whether or not to open.

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