Wind and rain clear sidewalks, stores in downtown Hagerstown

October 30, 2012|By KAUSTUV BASU |
  • Sidewalks in downtown Hagerstown are deserted Tuesday in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The remnants of what once was Hurricane Sandy were a weakening presence in the Hagerstown area by Tuesday, but the lingering effects of the storm could be seen in downtown Hagerstown, where closed storefronts and empty parking spaces were common sights. 

It didn’t help that a light steady rain fell nearly all day while temperatures hovered in the low 40s.

With many offices in the area closed, popular lunch spots such as the Brickyard Grill on West Washington Street and The Plum, a restaurant on Rochester Place, also were closed as of late morning.

The Columbia Bank on West Washington Street and the post office on West Franklin Street were open.

Stephen Hummel, a senior vice president at the bank, said that during bad weather, businesses that are open have a “need for change. ... Retail stores that are open bring in their deposits.”

“Some of our consumers have the day off. They might decide to come in,” Hummel said.

The bank closed at 3 p.m. Monday because of the storm, but Hummel said he did not expect a similar situation Tuesday.

The Franklin Street post office was busy.

Rachel Garner, who lives near downtown, said she was at the post office to mail back a pair of boots she purchased from a catalog. “It ain’t that bad,” she said of the weather.

One eatery that was open downtown was Bulls & Bears on South Potomac Street.

“We were open Monday till 3 p.m. but business was slow,” said Josh Funk, general manager at the restaurant. Funk said he expected more people to be at his restaurant Tuesday.

Some other downtown businesses braved the elements and remained open, despite the possibility that they would only have a few customers. Think reInk, a store selling refilled printer cartridges, was one of those businesses.

“It is the end of the month. I’m still trying to make my numbers,” said Randall Rotz, a co-owner of the store.

“I can’t make my numbers if I’m not here. At least, there’s plenty of parking,” Rotz said.

The Potomac Bead Company, another downtown store, was expected to remain open all day, said Jennifer Jones, a store manager.

Jones said she had added boxes of new items to the store inventory and changed light bulbs in the store Monday and Tuesday because she had extra time.

Ben’s Flower Shop on South Potomac Street was open and busy.

Pat O’Brien, the store owner, said he was attending to online and phone orders. “We rarely close,” O’Brien said. “Florists are a hardy bunch.”

A place that was bustling downtown was the Stil’ Cuttin’ barber shop on West Franklin Street.

“We are still cutting. We will be open as long as the phone is ringing,” said an employee who identified himself as Tony the Barber, and did not give a last name.

“I’m an ex-sailor. The water doesn’t bother me much,” said Frank Brooks, a customer at the barber shop.

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