BOSTON STORES MUFFLED BY NEARLY 3 FEET OF SNOW
Byline: Stuart Chirls
NEW YORK — Boston retailers weren’t amused by the April Fool’s blizzard that dumped nearly three feet of snow on the city.
Massachusetts Governor William Weld early Tuesday morning declared a state of emergency for much of the state, which included a ban on all but emergency vehicles from Boston’s streets.
Train and bus service in the city was also suspended, and Logan Airport wasn’t expected to reopen until late Tuesday evening at the earliest, while retailing, for the most part, came to a complete standstill.
The big downtown department stores — Filene’s and Macy’s — were closed, along with a large number of the specialty stores.
In the downtown Newbury Street shopping district, the snow shuttered such stores as Gap, Ann Taylor, Urban Outfitters, Lord & Taylor and Eddie Bauer.
At Copley Plaza, the Polo store opened its doors to a captive audience.
“We opened later than usual, but we were amazed we could open at all with the weather,” said Ken Anderson, sales associate. “We had customers. We are located between the Westin and Marriott, so people were kind of trapped. They were buying lots of umbrellas.”
A|X Armani Exchange, also at Copley Plaza, opened on time and “people were coming in,” said a sales associate.
Nearby, Tiffany was closed, but a recorded message indicated that it would reopen for regular hours on Wednesday.
Neiman Marcus and The Limited were other victims of the storm.
There was a similar story in outlying areas.
The South Shore Plaza mall in suburban Braintree, which includes Sears, Macy’s, Filene’s and Lord & Taylor, was closed, as were the stores at Chestnut Hill Mall.
“The snow does appear to be letting up,” said Pat Chadwick, manager of Bloomingdale’s at Chestnut Hill, a half-hour outside Boston, who at mid-morning was contemplating a 3 p.m. opening. “It’s a judgment call, but we’ve been working the phones. It all depends on whether our employees can get here. Our first concern is their safety.”
Another call to the store later in the afternoon got a recorded message that indicated it would reopen on Wednesday.
On the manufacturing front, however, it was business as usual for Malden Mills, located 25 miles north of Boston in Lawrence. “We were manufacturing today, but with fewer people,” said Jeanne Wallace, communications specialist. “Many of our employees live just a few blocks away, so some made it in.”