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East Coast Businesses Cope with Heavy Late-Season Nor’easters

Wintry weather on the East Coast continues to inundate the region with snow, ice, and hazardous conditions. 

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NEW YORK-Despite spring officially kicking off last week, a barrage of wintry weather on the East Coast has continued to inundate the region with snow, ice, and hazardous conditions. ABC News reports that with four nor’easters in less than a month, cancellations and closings have taken place in major metropolitan cities like New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington D.C.

With the treacherous conditions hampering everything from school schedules to public transportation, Printwear checked in with a handful of industry companies on the East coast to see what conditions have been like.

On Long Island, residents and businesses are grappling with snow accumulations of more than a foot in some towns. Royal Apparel, based in Hauppauge has seen its share of challenges with the weather says Glen Brumer, sales director.

“The storms are unusually late this year,” he notes. “We had to shut down one day during the last four nor’easters, and work a couple of abbreviated days.”

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A satellite image of the March 21 storm. (Image courtesy NASA/Wikipedia)

Thankfully, Brumer says the company is still able to operate even if travel conditions to the office are hazardous. The company uses a text chain to notify workers of closings or delays and oversees basic customer operations and website maintenance remotely.

“Our website is our best tool,” explains Brumer. “We can still process and accept orders during the storms, as well as advise customers of alerts.”

Across the water to New York City, David Bebon, owner of DBEBZ apparel, says most issues he’s noticed are shipping-related due to hazardous road conditions.  

“Ultimately, we had a few days where we lost shipping orders and samples due to warehouse closures,” says Bebon. “The UPS delays were obviously something we could not control but we are only talking about a few days of lost business.”

Meanwhile, in New England, forecasts for the latest storm didn’t necessarily hit the marks meteorologists predicted, but coastal areas still experienced high winds and flooding from storm surges and the region is still cleaning up from prior storms. At Sharon, Massachusetts-based Charles River Apparel, Tracy Lehnen, vice president of marketing says the extreme weather is something the company is used to.

“While it’s officially spring, we’ve been dealt enough storms in late March and early April that we don’t take anything for granted,” states Lehnen. “We embrace it and make the best of it.”

Like other industry apparel companies, Lehnen notes that technology is often the company’s best tool in unpredictable conditions. Setting up customer service offsite with laptops and dedicated phone lines is typically the approach when roads are impassible. In addition to making sure employees are safe, Lehnen says this contingency plan is aimed at taking care of the customers in a timely manner, even if the main office is closed.

“When you shut down your building, it impacts shipping for at least a day, so the return can be challenging because we want to get our customers’ orders out the door as quickly as possible,” she notes. “Over the years we’ve gotten better at managing this process so when a big storm is coming, we extend our shipping window for orders the day before and the day after the storm.”

The one ripple effect, sources highlight, is a slight decline in orders from some retailers because of the stormy conditions. Due to the erratic weather, there is some slowdown from shops who originally would be stocking and selling seasonal spring gear. Despite that, companies remain optimistic that the nicer weather is on the horizon.

“This week we’re back to high 40s and 50s, so we’ll be breaking out our pack-and-go jackets in anticipation of the warmer weather,” says Lehnen.

Has the stormy spring season affected your shop or company? Contact us here

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Mike Clark

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