Retailers keep doors open during blizzard conditions - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Retailers keep doors open during blizzard conditions


MADISON (WKOW) -- As the shopping days until Christmas count down, several Madison-area retailers opened their doors Thursday, despite widespread travel warnings, and predictions of more than a foot of snow and blizzard conditions.

At a Best Buy store on the city's west side, aisles of electronics and plasma televisions were virtually empty, save for employees stocking shelves and carrying out other tasks.

Manager Kurt Techmeier tells 27 News Best Buy felt customers who were able to travel to the store should be given the opportunity to shop. Techmeier says Dec. 20 is typically one of the fifteen busiest days for store business.

Techmeier tells 27 News employee safety was paramount, and staff members who felt they could not safely reach the store were told to simply miss their shift.

At Target on Madison's Junction Road, executive team leader Ana Lee Hjelm tells 27 News the decision to open for business Thursday included a policy of allowing scheduled employees to miss shifts if their travel would be too hazardous. The store's human resources manager fielded many calls, as staff members reported absences due to the weather conditions.

Several stores at Madison's West Towne Mall remained open, but at midday the vast shopping center parking lot only had a sprinkling of cars.

Some businesses specializing in delivery kept the service going, despite deteriorating road conditions. Sandwich delivery driver Jim Day of Jimmy John's tells 27 News he was able to complete delivery of a half dozen orders, mostly to other businesses. Day says the road conditions were close to the most challenging he's encountered during four years on the job.

Madison U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Karen Cronin says mail carriers worked on their routes in Thursday's morning hours, in an effort to keep up with holiday mail volume. Cronin says by Thursday afternoon, delivery was a "case by case" situation because of weather conditions.

Kim McLaughlin of Middleton had no work obligation Thursday because the bank branch she manages was closed due to the snow storm. She and her husband shopped at Best Buy and other stores, and enjoyed customer service that was almost exclusive.

Matthew McLaughlin says their shopping excursion was really no hassle, despite the driving snow and howling winds. "I've got four wheel drive."

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