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Poll: Bad weather hurting small NC businesses

Posted March 4, 2014

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— One-fifth of small North Carolina businesses have had to lay off workers, and more than 40 percent temporarily shut their doors because of bad weather, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The poll, conducted Feb. 7-9, 2014 by Public Policy Polling on behalf of Small Business Majority, found nearly half of small businesses have been personally impacted by extreme weather, with 90 percent of those firms experiencing a “significant” financial impact because of it.

“Extreme weather events have been touching an increasing number of small employers," Small Business Majority spokesman Rhett Buttle said in a statement. "It’s time to sit up and take notice.”

The group is pushing renewable energy policies that would boost the U.S. economy and getting the Small Business Administration to inform entrepreneurs about the effects of extreme weather and how to lessen the impact.

Nearly four in 10 North Carolina small-business owners reported weather-related damages of $5,000 to $25,000. Forty-four percent had to close their business for up to a week, with some closing for as long as 14 to 30 days.

“The increase in winter storms this year has been really hard on my business,” said Lynn St. Laurent, owner of Amelie’s French Bakery in Charlotte. “I was forced to close my bakery during the last snow storm, which means lost revenue for us. Even worse, I was looking to expand my business to Atlanta, but all of the extreme winter storms across the South have taken such a financial toll that I’ve had to stall my plans for now.”

Two-thirds of the North Carolina small-business owners polled said they believe extreme weather is an urgent problem that can disrupt the economy and hurt small businesses.


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