No power means new problems, solutions for small businesses

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – It's a difficult week for local small businesses. Many are struggling during this week without power. But now, some business owners are determined to stay open, no matter what.

The makeshift paper signs all say: "No Power" or "Closed". First it was the earthquake, now the hurricane. Safe to say, they're used to it at Gayton Crossing...where Norma Santamaria runs the high-end consignment shop Baggio.

"It hurts, we're a small business," she said.

On Wednesday, Santamaria decided to open the store, finally, but she still has no power, and almost the same number of customers. It's too early to know what it's costing her.

"Oh, I don't even want to do that yet, no. But it's not a good thing," she said.

At the nearby First Impressions Hair Studio, they can wash, cut and trim.

"If the clients are willing, we're willing. As long as we can do what we can," said stylist Therese Short.

They just can't blow dry. And the only light comes from the outdoors.

THERESE: "You're confident, Alvin?"
ALVIN: "Just watch my ear. Haha."

It's funny what shops will do to stay in business. Take the Modern Nails salon, for example. No longer operating by candlelight, instead, it's on the sidewalk.

ANDY: "This is very smart, though, I'm impressed."
KIM: "Yes, uh huh."

Owner Kim Clark has done this before, and customers like Mattie Selden say it's better than being closed.

"Fine with me, I've got a wedding to go to this weekend! Haha," Selden said.

These shops are faring better than most. Others endure an increasingly painful wait for the power -and the customers- to come back.

What happens next isn't quite clear except for this: Every day without electricity is another day of  money lost. Businesses could open and take checks or cash only, but that's only if their customers can find a working ATM.

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