August 26th, 2011 | Uncategorized

Local businesses divided on whether to close shop for the storm

Atticus will be closed Sunday because of Hurricane Irene.
Atticus will be closed Sunday because of Hurricane Irene. Photo by Emily Foxhall.

As Yale prepares for Hurricane Irene — set to touch down in the city Sunday night — some New Haven businesses are closing down, while others will weather the storm, at least for now.

Nearby restaurants Atticus, Claire’s Cornercopia and Temple Grille will remain closed Sunday, employees said today, while Scoozi and Thai Taste employees said they plan to open as usual and Prime 16 employees plan for a late opening at 5 p.m.

However students searching for food can head to both Gourmet Heaven and Stop & Shop where representatives said they plan to keep the stores’ doors open throughout the weekend in order to supply shoppers with storm staples such as water, bread and batteries.

“Many of these items are pre-sorted so that we’re prepared to meet the needs of customers,” Stop & Shop spokesperson Arlene Putterman said.

Most Broadway-area store employees said early this afternoon that they planned to keep their shops open Saturday night and Sunday. But they added that they were also waiting to see both how strong the storm turns out to be and what decisions other stores would make with regard to operation hours.

Those working at small retail businesses such as Laila Rowe said they will likely base their judgment on what managers of larger stores such as J. Crew and Barnes & Noble decide to do for the weekend. (Local J. Crew and Barnes & Noble staff declined to comment.)

“Nobody really knows 100%,” said Sarah Carrigan, an associate at Laila Rowe, adding that they have sold at least 50 pairs of rainboots over the past few days. “We all kind of communicate between stores.”

In the meantime, a small surge of storm-related sales has already hit stores: Trailblazer sold an eager customer two solar chargers before the store’s 10 a.m. opening this morning, one employee said, and continued to sell headlamps and lanterns throughout the day.

At 11 a.m., a man from Monroe, Conn. who was convinced he would lose power over the weekend, came in to buy the first camp stove sold for the weekend.

Across the street at Denali, a cashier said customers had purchased several USB flashlights and a significant amount of rain gear as well.

And if you are looking for clean socks do not fret: American Apparel personnel said they will be ready to provide as needed.