Power outages hurt Athens businesses

Numerous Athens-area business were impacted Tuesday by the widespread power outages caused by Tropical Storm Irma.

 

Major business corridors such as West Broad Street and Prince Avenue were still without power as of noon Tuesday, causing many shops and restaurants to close or offer limited services.

Athens Mini Mart on West Broad Street is one local business that worked to stay open despite it’s lack of power.

“Right now we’re cash only. I have to do all of the totals with a calculator,” said Rizwana Sabeen. “People come in for milk and bread, try to use their EBT and I have to send them away.”

Sabeen added that while most of the items in her store are non-perishable, she’s worried that the items in her freezers will begin to go bad.

“I’m just ready for the power to come back,” she said. “I try to help the neighborhood, they try to help me, but it’s hard with no electricity.”

Click the image to see photos of clean-up efforts in Athens.

Other businesses required electricity to operate and were forced to close.

At Auto Zone on West Broad Street, employees were stationed at the front door, directing prospective customers to the store’s other locations on North Avenue and Barnett Shoals Road.

The Luna Baking Co. worried the outage would continue to effect business well into the remainder of the week.

“If we don’t get power in the next few hours, we’ll probably have to close (Wednesday), too,” said Ian Dye, a manager at the Luna Baking Co. on West Broad Street.

The bakery bakes wholesale orders a day in advance, so no power on Tuesday would mean no bread on Wednesday, he added.

“I just hope we get it turned on soon,” Dye said.

Of course, those corridors were far from the only commercial spots in Athens hurt by lack of electrical power. In particular, Five Points was the site of a true rarity — a closed Waffle House restaurant.

Georgia Power and local utility companies have deployed nearly 6,000 linemen across the state in order to restore power after Tropical Storm Irma left more than a million Georgia residents without electricity.

In Athens, nearly 20,000 were still without power as of Tuesday morning, but that number continues to go down as the power lines are repaired.

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