Extended Power Outage Driving Local Businesses Out of Business

By: Carrie Cline Email
By: Carrie Cline Email

SOUTH WEBSTER, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Power out, closed for business -- that's the case for many businesses throughout our region losing hundreds to thousands of dollars a day while waiting for the electricity to come back. But, at least one local restaurant fears they're beyond the point of no return.

“The power went out Friday and we've been closed, closed, closed, closed, closed,” Jeanne Brafford said.

Brafford is at her wit's end. Cars are driving past her restaurant and taking their money with them.

“I don't know where my customers are going. They might go somewhere else and get used to going there and not come back,” Brafford said. “People are mad at me. I'm like, how can you be mad at me when this is being done to me. You shouldn't be mad with me."

Brafford and her husband, Jerry, opened Jodie's Restaurant 15 years ago. It's become the heartbeat of this small community.

“They get irritated because they want to come down and have a Jodie Burger and have the social interaction," Jeannie Brafford said. "It's not like I can do anything about it. Everything is so out of control."

“It's supposed to have people in here eating and talking,” Jerry Brafford said.

The silence in the dining area during the lunch hour is deafening. But, the scene in the kitchen is downright painful.

“I'm mostly in here cooking, flipping hamburgers, frying eggs,” Jerry Brafford said.

But, the hamburgers, eggs and everything else is gone. The empty refrigerators represent hundreds of dollars in spoiled lost food.

“I lost produce, mashed potatoes, gravy, zucchini, cucumbers,” Jeanne Brafford said.

But, while the Braffords were dealing with this mess, real tragedy hit. Jerry's father died unexpectedly.

“We haven't buried him yet,” Jerry said.

And now the couple is fearful they're going to lose their business.

“It would probably cost about $3000 to reopen," Jeanne said. "Bills are still stacking up, but we have no income coming in."

So, their restaurant sits dark, closed -- a tree still lying on the power line. Meanwhile, the owners are hanging on a line of their own -- one of uncertainty and anguish.

“It’s like did they forget about us? Why are we not the priority being a business? You just wonder why they're not here,” said Jerry.

Jeanne and Jerry say in this economy they were already hanging on by a thread financially. Losing income for a week truly has thrown them into a tailspin.

They would like to think they could still reopen if power came back on Friday. But the reality of it is with each passing day, their future becomes more critical.

The Braffords found out that their power isn't expected to be restored until next Tuesday.

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