For some businesses, snow day brings bustle

Ryan Weir, 29, rides his bike across Pratt St. at Calvert St. about 3:30pm on his way to Whole Foods to buy groceries. A snow storm covered the Inner Harbor and surrounding areas with several inches of snow.
Ryan Weir, 29, rides his bike across Pratt St. at Calvert St. about 3:30pm on his way to Whole Foods to buy groceries. A snow storm covered the Inner Harbor and surrounding areas with several inches of snow. (Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun)

As snow fell Tuesday afternoon outside Atwater's bakery in Catonsville, manager Lisa Harden hurried to pour the last cups of coffee and wrap up customers' food in to-go containers.

The bakery had been busy, she said, but like many neighboring restaurants and shops along Frederick Road, it was closing early so employees could get home safely on the treacherous roads.


But in Canton, bar owner Michael Clarke was expecting steady business at Claddagh Pub — from those who didn't have to work, or were expecting another snow day on Wednesday.

"This crowd, it'll build all day," he said as customers dined on wings and drinks. "Snow days are good days in Canton."


The impact on businesses of the largest snowstorm to hit the Baltimore area so far this winter was mixed. Although many never opened or closed early, others saw the snow as a boon. Some shops offered discounts and specials to entice customers to come in from the cold.

The Greene Turtle in Columbia extended a "Snowpalooza" happy hour all day for customers who were taking refuge from the storm.

David Brown said he stopped by the bar because "I can't stay home all day" — even in a snowstorm.

Veronica Taylor and her cousin Christian Acosta said they ended up at the Greene Turtle after they learned the pub at which they had planned to meet was closed.


Acosta said he wasn't fazed by the snow. "I'm from Chicago, " he said.

Taylor agreed: "Baltimore and the East Coast definitely make a big deal of the snow."

That certainly was true along the main stretch of Frederick Road in Catonsville, which resembled a snowy Norman Rockwell scene. Several businesses, including SugarBakers Cakes, Catonsville Gourmet, Taneytown Deli, Hilton Flower Shop and Deusenberg's restaurant, were closed all day.

Bill's Music House canceled all lessons and planned to close three hours early, employee Tracey Kern said. About half a dozen people sat inside Jennings Cafe around 2:30 p.m. A bartender, anticipating a slow night, expected to close the restaurant in the early evening.

But the Objects Found antique store stayed open, and held a special sale to mark the big snow.

"We're almost always open," owner Reggie Sajauskas said proudly. "Every day but Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter."

When the roads look slippery, Sajauskas said, she walks to work. She lives less than a mile down Frederick Road.

She offered a 20 percent "snow day" discount on the shop's Facebook page with hopes of drawing in customers. Business had been slow, though, so employees spent the day restocking inventory and rearranging the cluttered store's shelves.

Cacao Lane Restaurant was one of the only businesses open in Old Ellicott City, where few cars and pedestrians moved along picturesque but unplowed streets.

Dan Murphy stood idly behind the nearly empty bar, where he and a few employees had just returned after shoveling the sidewalk out front.

"We'll be open till last call," he said. "The snow makes for a locals night, because they can't go anywhere."

On O'Donnell Street in Canton, a bank branch and a chiropractor's office closed in the afternoon.

At Cup Love, a shop that sells frozen yogurt and cupcakes, a group of women chatted as the snow fell outside, happy to get out of the house.

"There's nothing to watch on TV," said Jannette Puisseaux, a behavior specialist at a private school in Montgomery County. "There's not much to do."

Her friend, Alexa Garcia, a server at a Canton restaurant, expected to be busy Tuesday night.

"Usually on snow days, there's a large crowd," Garcia said. "Nobody's working. Nobody wants to cook."

The Markets at Highlandtown grocery store was bustling in the late afternoon, but some restaurants nearby had few customers.

Andrew Farantos, owner of G & A Coney Island Restaurant on Eastern Avenue, said he had a good breakfast and lunch crowd, but planned to close a little early because of the weather.

Farantos said he was calling around to elderly customers to check on them.

"We've been around forever," said Farantos, whose grandfather started the restaurant. He expected to open on time Wednesday morning. "We're pretty much like clockwork every day."

Down the street, Highlandtown resident Robert Walter was shoveling sidewalks for businesses along Eastern Avenue. He said he enjoyed the snow, but was concerned about the arctic air to come.

"Right now, like this, I don't mind it," he said. "When it hits single digits, it is terrible."

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Amanda Yeager contributed to this article.