While some businesses such as area coffee shops could barely keep up with demand Saturday through Monday, many others suffered hard blows to their bottom lines following Friday’s knockout thunderstorm.
Potomac businesses are looking at thousands of dollars in losses due to widespread power outages that closed doors and forced business owners to throw away hundreds of pounds of spoiled food. At the peak of the outage, more than 840,000 homes were without electricity, across Maryland, in the middle of a heat wave.
“All of the Potomac businesses at River and Falls roads were out of power for at least 24 hours, I believe,” said Adam Greenberg, founder of Potomac Pizza and a board member on the Potomac Chamber of Commerce. The Potomac Village location of Potomac Pizza lost power Friday night and wasn’t restored until around 8 p.m. Sunday, Greenberg said.
Losing weekend business is especially damaging to restaurants, Greenberg said. “In the restaurant business, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are our top three days. Losing that Saturday was huge for us.”
Greenberg is still adding up his costs for insurance companies, but figures he lost between $10,000-$20,000 in sales, not including the cost of the amount of food he had to throw away.
Eddie Benaim, owner of Bezu, estimates his damages in the $40,000-range, taking into consideration business lost, payroll and inventory losses.
“We lost all of the food,” Benaim said Monday. “Right now we’re in the process of cleaning up. It’s like starting a whole new operation, getting everything back in place.”
Benaim said he hoped to have the restaurant ready for business Tuesday, and thanked his customers for their continued patience and support.
“It’ll take the Tavern probably three days to get the menu back up to speed,” Grolig said Monday, after having to throw out all of the restaurant’s perishable food. Grolig said the amount of food tossed – “hundreds and hundreds of pounds of food” – filled an entire eight-yard dumpster.
“It’s terrible because you’re looking at this product, and it’s cold, but you know it was out of the temperature zone for at least 18 hours. We had to throw everything away,” Grolig said. “The only difference between opening a brand new restaurant and the amount of work needed now is at least the restaurant workers know how to do everything.”
Luckily for Potomac’s seafood lovers, much of the raw product stocked at River Falls Seafood was pulled early into the power outage, set on ice in large coolers and ultimately saved. With the food salvaged from River Falls Seafood, Grolig and the chefs at the Tavern were able to open with a light fare menu on Monday.