Like George Bailey learned in the classic holiday movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” every life affects another.
In George’s case, he learned the people and the city of Bedford Falls would not have been the same without him.
Likewise, when a snowstorm dumped 8-plus inches of snow on Limestone County Sunday and Monday, roads, schools, businesses and government offices were shut down. The resulting absence of students, shoppers and workers put a chill on retail sales all over the county, including in downtown Athens.
But, business owners are hoping for full relief by Saturday, when temperatures could reach a balmy 48 degrees.
Sporadic sales have been the rule for the businesses that have been open.
Gray & Holt Dry Goods in downtown Athens had planned to reopen late Monday night to sell T-shirts at the conclusion of the BCS National Championship football game between the Auburn Tigers and the Oregon Ducks.
“Because of the road conditions, we did not open the night of the game,” said storeowner Bob Griggs. “But, we opened yesterday and sold a good bit. We also have more T-shirts coming — hopefully today or tomorrow— that include the score of the game.”
He has even ordered more BCS Championship T-shirts — in orange, blue or white and sporting six to eight different designs — that include the final score of the game.
“One will have printing on the front and the back and some will have the championship score and also show the scores from all of the games this year,” Griggs said.
Customers can call ahead to 256-232-2616 to see when the shirts arrive. View the designs by going online to www.gray&holtclothing.com or check out the store’s Facebook account.
Whitt’s Barbecue, the popular local eatery with two locations in Athens, reopened Tuesday on Marion Street with only three employees.
“We had a pretty good lunch — maybe six or seven cars waiting in line — and we had a little rush right before we closed at 5 p.m., before everyone headed home before dark,” employee Amanda Whitt said Wednesday.
The Elm Street location reopened Wednesday with a full staff, but sales at both locations have been slower than normal, Whitt said.
“We have enough supplies for the weekend, and it just depends on if the schools open and the city workers and people at the courthouse come back to work,” she said.
Abernathy’s Monogramming in downtown Athens also reported slow sales, but attributed some of the lethargy to customers short of cash after Christmas.
“We weren’t open Monday, and yesterday we were open from noon to 4:30 p.m. and we had about three people come in, but most people are not going to get out in this,” said an Abernathy’s employee who asked to remain anonymous. “It was unusually slow, but January is a little slower anyway because everybody’s broke.”
In the Hollywood movie, George’s many friends chip in to replace the $8,000 in Bailey Building & Loan money lost by George’s absent-minded uncle. It is hoped locally, Limestone County consumers can replace the cash lost by the snowstorm over the coming months.