A number of local shops close temporarily

Published 11:10 am Thursday, January 31, 2019

NILES — Tuesday evening, Wonderland Cinema owner Carol Moore had to make a tough decision: keep the local movie theater open or shut the doors to prepare for forecasted subzero temperatures.

“It is hard for us to close,” Moore said.

Snow started falling this weekend, continuing Monday. Temperatures throughout the week steadily began to drop. Since then, Moore said there had been fewer customers filling the seats of the movie theater. After some deliberating, the movie theater decided to close Wednesday.

Wonderland was not the only small business to feel the impact on their customer basis because of the winter cold.

Across Niles this week many business owners were faced with the same decision. A scroll Facebook revealed many businesses who had closed shop or shortened hours to hunker down and wait for the cold spell to pass. 

Front Street Pizza Pub was among the few that chose to brave the cold this week.

General manager Sarah Martin said the business made the call to keep their doors open. However, they did shorten their hours from to 8 or 9 p.m. depending on the night. Usually, the restaurant is open till midnight most nights. Front Street also canceled trivia on Tuesday night.

While Martin said they had still seen some customers looking for fresh, hot, pizza, she said customer traffic did appear to be impacted by the cold.

“It’s definitely been a little slower, but people still have to eat,” Martin said. “When people do get out of the house, we are at least someplace warm and close that they can grab a bite to eat, instead of driving to Mishawaka.”

Employee safety was a concern, she said. To help, Martin said employees arranged carpools with those who had four-wheel drive vehicles.

As the cold weather moved into the area early this week, Martin said, take-out sales had increased. She said deep-dish pizzas also seemed to see a rise in purchases among customers who visited the restaurant.

“Pizza is always warm,” Martin said. “Everyone always likes pizza and it is a staple when people don’t want to cook.”

Martin said she expects the cold weather to be a factor in business revenue.

“I mean yes, cold weather is going to affect our business no matter what,” Martin said. “We definitely are going to get hit. But, we get hit either way because if you are hit on the customer aspect side, I mean we use all fresh produce. That’s going to go bad if we don’t use it.”

Atomic Bean Coffee Shop also kept their doors, offering a little respite from the cold with hot drinks. Like Front Street and Wonderland, the coffee shop chose to shorten their hours.

Customers are advised to check local businesses social media pages for hour updates before heading out into the cold.