Small Businesses Struggle With Water Ban

Downtown Charleston, W.Va.

As the water ban was lifted throughout the Charleston area yesterday restaurants and bars started to open their doors for the first time since Thursday.

Deno Stanley is the owner of Adelphia Sports Bar and Grille in downtown Charleston. He said when he received word last Thursday that he would have to close because of the water ban he was not happy.

“It was pretty catastrophic, it cut us down about 90%, I’m afforded the luxury because I’m a restaurant that serves alcohol, we were able to keep the bar open for a little bit and try to offset some of our losses,” Stanley said.

Stanley was busy Tuesday as many people filed into his bar and grille on their lunch hour —  the first normal day in downtown Charleston in almost a week. Stanley said for each day they were closed they were losing $6-8,000 a day. He said they’re looking to see if they can get help from federal aid or even a deferment of 30 or 60 days.

John Saville’s family owns Taylor Books in Charleston where they’ve used the off-time to clean the place thoroughly. He said they’re looking into whether help is available through their insurance for the sudden closing.

“Well, being closed we’ve lost a lot of revenue and we’re working with our insurance company right now to see what the availability of funds is for business interruptions and things like that,” Saville said.

Alisa Bailey is Executive Director of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau. She said it can be tough for businesses to deal with a sudden closure. She said local hotels dealt with sharp declines in visitors and restaurants lost thousands of dollars each day they couldn’t open.

“The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau is trying to access what the negative direct economic impact will be on the front line employees loss of wages, we had a lot of hotels that didn’t have a lot of people in them and of course all of our restaurants were closed, so that has a negative impact on not only the facility and the businesses, but also the people that work for them,” Bailey said.

Bailey said she and her staff are looking at studies done after the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and what that has meant to local tourism long-term. She said the fear now is what the chemical spill will do to perception down the road.

"It may take anywhere from a year to two years to really get back and convince people that it's a wonderful place," Bailey said.

“It may take anywhere from a year to two years to really get back and convince people that it’s a wonderful place,” Bailey said.

Bailey says it will take a while before anyone realizes the ultimate economic effect that the closures have had on businesses and the city.