"We had planned for a very, very busy week, with a lot of groups in the hotel, and unfortunately some of those folks are having a hard time getting in from other cities," said Robert Allen, the hotel's general manager.
There's a winners-and-losers aspect to most bad weather. While the storm will likely cost millions in lost output, productivity and consumer spending, it could give a boost to companies that repair damage, said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
"Construction workers have had some of the most difficult times in recent years with the housing bust," he said. "So to put some of the carpenters and plumbers and welders and other construction workers back to work when the storm is done is always beneficial to the economy."
And then there are the stores selling bad-weather essentials — busy, busy, busy. Safeway sent truckloads of extra ice to its grocery stores where power outages are expected to be the most severe, including supermarkets in Edgewater, Arnold, Canton, Bel Air, Towson and Ellicott City. After the extra orders of bottled water sold out, the chain was reordering and restocking warehouses for shipments that went out Monday.
Gregory A. Ten Eyck, spokesman for Safeway's Eastern Division, said trucks were able to make it over the Bay Bridge to supply Eastern Shore stores before the winds picked up, but making deliveries anywhere would become more difficult as the storm worsened. Staying at full staff is harder than normal, too.
"So many of our employees rely on public transportation, and that has been a challenge," Ten Eyck said. To make up for shortages, "people are working longer shifts and more frequently."
Dan Lewis, president of Odenton Ace Hardware, stood in his bustling Anne Arundel County store Monday morning and ticked off all the supplies that customers had cleaned him out of over the weekend: flashlights, batteries, generators, tarps, lamp oil, kerosene and battery-operated sump pumps.
He was trying to get resupplied, but items were coming in at a trickle, not a flood. He hoped — fingers crossed — to be fully restocked by Thursday.
"It's typical for a big storm," he said. "People wait almost … till the last minute; then they're in panic mode."
Baltimore Sun reporter Eileen Ambrose contributed to this article.
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