Irene good for business

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, August 31, 2011

From left, Riley, Janae, Amy and Steven Hansen of Boykins await their order at Don Pancho's Cantina on Armory Drive in Franklin on Monday. The Hansens have been without electricity since Hurricane Irene struck on Saturday. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES | TIDEWATER NEWS


FRANKLIN—While most of Western Tidewater remained in the dark after Hurricane Irene blew into town on Saturday, the lights of Franklin brought folks to its restaurants and businesses.

Mark Pierce, regional manager for the Dairy Queen in Franklin, Windsor and Courtland, said the city’s store was closed Saturday, but “very busy” on Sunday. The Courtland Dairy Queen remained closed Tuesday due to a lack of power, while Windsor’s reopened at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Pierce, who has been with the Franklin DQ since it opened in 2005, said Sunday was the busiest day he’s seen.

Wanda Yoder, assistant manager at Hardee’s in Franklin, said the restaurant was closed Saturday, but Sunday was another story.

“We were extremely busy. Extra people were called in, about six to eight. We were open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” she said.

On Monday, lines were out the door.

Mike Floris of Don Pancho’s Cantina said the Armory Drive restaurant had a full house Sunday, while things remained busy Monday.

“We’ve been helping out those people who don’t have power,” Floris said. “It’s been a full house and we appreciate the support from the people in town.”

Mike Desai, owner of Comfort Inn in Franklin, said over the weekend people came from Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Norfolk. The Armory Drive motel’s 76 rooms were booked on Friday and Saturday nights.

“We had to turn away a lot of people,” Desai said.

At Country Host Inn, owner Harry Patel said business was brisk, but not all 82 rooms were filled.

Bob Edwards, owner of Edwards Hardware in Courtland, said he had to do business old school on Sunday — a day when he normally doesn’t open. Edwards had to write down the UPC numbers of each product that people bought because he had no electricity to run the cash register.

He was selling generators, twist-lock plugs, lamp oil, batteries, gas cans and more.

Business was still “pretty brisk” on Monday. Chainsaws and chainsaw oil are much needed with so many trees down, Edwards said.

As for Saturday, when 12 inches of rain fell on Western Tidewater with wind gusts up to 59 mph, things were quiet at Lowe’s in Franklin, said Assistant Manager Vince Antezana.

Friday was a different story. The Armory Drive store got in 50 generators at 5 p.m. and was sold out by closing at 9.

Jimmie Ricks, owner of Vickie’s Country Store in Courtland, said it was business as usual on Saturday morning. The regular crowd was there for hot dogs, coffee and gossip.

The talk was the weather.

“Most of it was about the reporters who overplayed it,” Ricks said.