When Winter Freezes Northern Illinois, Some Small Businesses Feel The Heat

Feb 12, 2019

As ice and snow cover northern Illinois, some small businesses are starting to feel their bottom lines fall along with the temperature.

In the decades she’s owned her business, Cindy Abel, of Canine & Abel Dog Grooming and Daycare in Rockford, has never had to close because of the weather. That is, until record-breaking wind chills blew through the region at the end of January. That was a first.

“I’ve been doing this for over 45 years, and this has been the worst year of all,” she said.

“I just felt that with that 30-below, and people worry about their animals as much as their children.”

Even when she’s been open, she’s come in to hear half of her appointments for the day had been canceled.

All in all, her sales have been down about 10 percent this winter.

Other small businesses in northern Illinois have had similarly low January numbers. That’s according to Matt Duffy, the executive director at the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce.

He also says small businesses of all breeds have struggled with weather-related issues.

“Busted pipes, you know, things going out on them. You can’t always get the ease of a delivery or repair person out as quickly as you might in normal weather -- whatever normal weather might be in the Midwest,” said Duffy.

But instead of just waiting for the weather to clear up, the chamber has been helping businesses get creative and expand their online presences, as the ice keeps customers off the road.