Daily Archives: December 23, 2008

Snow and blackouts are only the latest problems for Winslow merchants

Doug Tolliver, a “A Shovel 4 Hire,” escorts a Winslow shopper over an icy crosswalk on Monday. Find more photos here

Shoppers squinted and blinked as they entered Lindsleys clothing store on Monday afternoon.

Somewhere among the darkened clothing racks Tom Lindsley was voicing a welcome to them. Most customers needed a few seconds to let their eyes adjust from the glare of Winslow’s snowy streets to the dim of the unlit store.

“Right now all we have is daylight,” said Lindsley, who co-owns the 17-year-old store store with his wife. “And a few flashlights people will hopefully use.”

Lindsleys was one of many downtown shops already struggling under a sluggish economy. The winter snow storm and resulting power outage made a bad situation worse.

And while the Christmas season was anticipated as a happy ending to a tough year, many stores found the snow kept many holiday spenders at home.

“The combination of the weather and the economy really makes things messy,” Lindsley said. “It hurts a lot. Our (sales) are way down. And we’ll have to close early because it’s getting harder to see in here.”

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Today’s news brought to you by…

…Island Health Foods.

Well, sort of.

With no power at Bainbridge Islander HQ, I slipped on the gaiters and wool cap and waded into the snow in search of the three necessities of news production and transmission: electricity, wireless Internet and caffeine.

The Pavilion’s new cafe was closed and dark, as was Bainbridge Bakers, Andante and Mora. Blackbird was open, but its steamy windows were nearly bursting with humanity. Predictably, T&C’s coffee shop was crowded with strangers doubling and tripling up at the handful of tables.

Calls to Mud Puddle and Pegasus went unanswered. I totally forgot about the new cafe in Flowering Around.

I headed east to the end of the Winslow world, where Trios was likely my last and final option. From a distance I saw lights! But at the door I found a sign notifying would-be patrons that the shop had closed early (about 20 minutes before I arrived). For some reason I never think about Island Health Foods as a supplier of the three necessities of news production and transmission. But there it was, only steps away from Trios, with warmly-lit tables, numerous electrical outlets, wirelessness and Americanos for the price of drip.

The friendly folks at Island Health Foods were keeping the shop open several hours after they were scheduled to close. Why? “To give people a warm place,” one of the owners said. “We know a lot of places are closed.”

Bowls of soup and chili were also handed out for free. It’s something Island Health Foods does when the temperature drops below zero.

So, thanks Island Health Foods for staying open and giving this reporter one last place to type up and send in his day’s work.