Poll says winter weather puts chill on Virginia’s small businesses

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A poll released Tuesday by Small Business Majority says this winter’s extreme cold weather has taken a toll on many of Virginia’s small businesses.

The poll of 505 small business owners, conducted Feb. 7 -10 by Public PolicyPolling, found that nearly that four in 10 (or 39 percent) of small Virginia business owners reported that they had been impacted by the weather, with 87 percent saying they have suffered a  “significant” financial impact.

Many businesses were forced to close temporarily, with 59 percent closing their business for up to a week, and some closing for as long as 14 to 30 days. Nearly one in five said they had laid off workers.

Other business owners reported damages of between $5,000 and $25,000.

“I don’t normally blame weak sales on bad weather, but this winter has been really hard on my business,” Mike Brey, owner of Hobby Works in Fairfax, said in a statement. “We’ve been forced to close because of extreme snowstorms, several of which happened on weekends — our busiest time of the week. The extreme cold also has more people staying indoors, which has cut down on foot traffic. While you expect some snowstorms during this time of year, it’s clear the weather is getting more intense. “

A majority (56 percent) of Virginia small business owners who were polled supported a federal insurance program to help entrepreneurs recover from extreme weather and climate-change related events.

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