Some Businesses Open Despite Power Outages

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Among the thousands of Westar Energy customers still without power after Thursday evening's severe thunderstorms that packed winds approaching 90 miles per hour are businesses.

Many businesses have generators that take over as soon as power is lost. However, even some businesses without generators opened their doors Friday.

"They had it all worked out," said Kevin Ryan, a customer at a Tractor Supply Company store on West Kellogg. "Seemed like they had a contingency plan for it."

The store remained without power all day, but with a generator running the cash register and employees helping customers by flashlight, Tractor Supply saw quite a bit of business because it carries chainsaws, generators and other tools needed in the storm's aftermath.

"They were really helpful," Ryan said. "They were waiting for me with a flashlight; took me back there and had no problem."

Ryan did not expect the store to be open when he pulled up.

"I almost turned around," he said. "I saw the lights were all out and then the older gentleman was motioning for me to come in, so that's service."

A U-Haul center on South Seneca, just south of Pawnee, was another business that worked around its power outage.

"We got power from the shop next door so we have our computers working, but it's been a pain," said customer service representative Brent Wolfenbarger. "It's been a pain. It's not been fun."

Despite the inconvenience, Wolfenbarger said being closed was not an option.

"Everyone's still needing to move and needing trucks and equipment," he said. "So it's like we can't really close down because people already have the trucks and they need to bring them back. They need to move; they need to get out of their apartments."

Even without lights or air conditioning, the U-Haul center saw a steady stream of customers throughout the day.

"Everybody's been real understanding, though," Wolfenbarger said. "They understand the power's out so they've got to wait a little longer and whatnot."

As utility crews worked around the corner from the Tractor Supply store, shoppers had plenty of praise for their work.

"Hats off to the guys working on the high line pole," Ryan said. "That's electricity."

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