Businesses forced to turn customers away in light of outagePublished 8:31pm Wednesday, October 16, 2013
While a widespread network outage drastically affected communication in the Lake Martin area for much of the day, local businesses also felt the effects of the network blackout.
In addition to cell phone and Internet service being down much of Wednesday, banks, ATMs and credit/debit card machines that weren’t connected through Charter’s network ceased operations.
For J.R’s. Sports Bar and Grill, business slowed to a For J.R’s. Sports Bar and Grill, business slowed to a crawl during the network outages.
“It affected us deeply,” said J.R’s Sports Bar and Grill owner Ann Berry. “It came down to paying with cash or check, and most people in this town preferred to use debit cards. Not too many people walk around with cash or checks.”
According to Berry, J.R’s. was most affected during the lunch hour, which Berry said is the eatery’s busiest time of day.
With patrons’ inability to pay via card, Berry said some would-be members of J.R’s. typically large lunch crowd chose to go somewhere else.
“We turned away about 30 people for lunch,” Berry said. “I don’t know about everyone else, but I know it hurt us.”
Fellow restaurant Jake’s was more fortunate, however.
“The only way it affected me was through cell phone service,” said Jake’s owner Jake Mixon. “Our computers and credit card machine were up and running all day.”
While it was business as usual for Jake’s, there were some hassles for Mixon due to the lack of cell phone service.
“My suppliers had been trying to reach me, and I’d been trying to reach them, but we’d been unsuccessful,” Mixon said.
In addition to restaurants, local retailers also had to bear the brunt of the fallout from the outage.
Little Black Dress owner Stephanie Smith said she wasn’t sure of the extent that her store would be affected from a shopping standpoint, but she added that promotional tactics went downhill.
“We had some shoppers all day, and we dealt with it the best we could,” Smith said. “It probably kept some people away. With me not being able to check my email or advertise things on Facebook … it was an interesting day, to say the least.
As of press time, there was no update on the status of debit card machines at local eateries and shops. Local banks could not be reached for comment.