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Stores start recovering after 'deserted' downtown

Published: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 2:35 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:49 p.m. CST
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(Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com)
With the temperature reaching a 13 degrees above zero, people were out and about in downtown Hinsdale on Wednesday.

HINSDALE – On a typical day in Hinsdale, the downtown streets are paved block to block with foot traffic as residents bounce in and out of storefronts.

But even the most tenacious of shoppers were deterred Monday and Tuesday by the arctic blast following a winter storm that produced wind chills of 20 degrees below zero.

“Everybody is staying in their house, but we are getting organized and getting the store cleaned,” said Rachael Pratt, owner of My Sister Kate, 48 S. Washington St., who was looking forward to the warm temperatures expected to arrive later in the week.

Pratt said business had been “very slow,” and while the store was still open Monday and Tuesday, the early week was used more for preparation in anticipation of the above-freezing temperatures forecast for Friday and the weekend – the first in more than a week.

Not every store, though, was suffering from the “Chiberia” temperatures at the start of the work week. In fact, if any business could prosper during a time like this, it would be a winter clothing store, which included King Keyser Specialty Sports, 41 S. Washington St.

“We’re winter specialty, and we’re open because of that,” said Carolyn Johnson, a merchandise buyer for the store. “It’s been slower, but we’ve had people come in.”

Besides sports equipment, the store sells items such as ski gloves, snow boots and winter hats. While business has been steady, Johnson said the foot traffic earlier in the week was almost nonexistent.

“Last night [Monday] we were open until 8:30 and it was just deserted in town,” Johnson said.

Relief has arrived though as the arctic air continues to leave the area and the 30-degree weather helps alleviate residents’ cabin fever. Johnson and Pratt are both anticipating a surge in the downtown and expect normal foot traffic to pick up.

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