RUMFORD – Despite the snowstorm sweeping across the state of Maine on Thursday, several businesses on Congress Street braved the weather and remained open.
Barbara Bartash, owner of Bartash's Cards and Gifts, said that even though the weather was bad enough to close the store, she remained open “out of goodwill to the people.”
“People expect us to be open, and even though the weather's lousy, we'll stay open,” Bartash said. “We'll probably close a little early, though, so we can get home safe.”
Bartash said the roads were slick on her way to the store and she doesn't blame anybody for staying inside today, especially since it's only two days after Christmas and strong gusts of wind are blowing the snow around.
“Right now, we should be vacuuming, sweeping and taking down our décor,” Bartash said, laughing and gesturing toward the decorations adorning the walls. “But we just don't have the ambition right now.”
Bartash later added that she received a call from Franklin Savings Bank at 10 a.m., telling her that they would be closing early at 1 p.m.
“When you start getting calls from the bank that they're closing early, you know the rest of the island will be following soon enough,” Bartash said.
Next door, John Soucy, owner of Carlisle's, was open for business, as well.
“It's been pretty slow so far, but we have had customers,” Soucy said. “Some people came in and bought winter gear earlier.”
According to Carlisle employee June Dragoon, the store “very seldom” closes.
“When you say you're going to be open, you have an obligation to stay open,” Dragoon said. “John did say I could go home at 3, even though we close at 5, so I can make it into my driveway before it gets blocked by snow.”
Soucy said that despite the slow day of work, there's plenty of catching up to do, in the form of book work.
Some businesses remained open for a short time before closing much earlier than normal. Brian's Bistro, on Hartford Street, closed at 2 p.m. instead of it's regular time of 9 p.m. Bangor Savings Bank also closed at 2 p.m. instead of 5 p.m.