The following originally appeared in The Hour on March 14, 2017 and features comments from OperationsInc CEO David Lewis. To view the original article, please click here.
by Alexander Soule
With Metro-North electing to suspend commuter rail service at noon Tuesday, many Norwalk businesses that had braved a morning opening chose to call it quits in the early afternoon as winds escalated and road crews struggled to keep up with the blizzard of March 2017.
“Yesterday was a busy one, with people stocking up just in case — and today we see that the forecast was correct,” said Tom Sato, owner of Wilton Hardware, a True Value affiliate in Wilton Center. “We … will be closing early, as it appears from the low store traffic that people are staying home.”
Stew Leonard’s opened Tuesday morning with as large a staff as it could muster of those within walking distance of the store, and did a not-insignificant business serving coffee and food to snow plow drivers, police and “the occasional ambitious customer” in the words of spokeswoman Meghan Bell. Also making it into the Norwalk store was Westport resident and CEO Stew Leonard Jr., who took a video of his Tuesday morning walk through the aisles.
“We have a few things out on the buffet, some sandwiches,” Leonard said. “We can get by today, but the store is empty.”
That was the scene in many offices as well throughout Norwalk as the afternoon hours hit, if not beforehand. Frontier Communications, the dominant telephone company in Connecticut, kept its Norwalk headquarters and New Haven call center closed Tuesday with employees working remotely, and calls being rerouted to other call centers.
A spokesman said Frontier had yet to experience any significant storm-related service disruptions in Connecticut as of late Tuesday morning, and advised anyone who spots downed cables or otherwise incurs an outage to contact Frontier at 1-800-921-8101.
As of noon Tuesday, electricity provider Eversource reported about 60 outages in Norwalk and its surrounding towns, with Woodbury the only town in the state with more than 500 customers without power.
OperationsInc elected Monday morning to close its Norwalk office for the day Tuesday, with the company providing training and consulting on human resources issues. As the snow billowed around his home office in Stamford Tuesday morning, CEO David Lewis had already held a couple of Skype video meetings with employees — including with a few of their kids in attendance.
“As long as (the) internet stays up we can be productive,” Lewis stated in an email. “Overall it’s about preparation, communication, and the understanding that about 50 to 75 (percent) productivity vs. a normal day is the norm — and you should be happy getting that vs. the days when a snow day (equaled) a ‘no-work’ day.”