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Fox News Weather Center

Winter Freezes Up Delivery for Small Businesses Across Midwest

While some economists have said this year's severe winter weather has masked economic performance, citing a recorded 0.4 percent decrease in United States retail and food services sale figures, this winter has also frozen daily operations and increased expenses for small business owners working in the Midwest.

"We probably had about three decent snowstorms that just shut you down for the day," Grace Harper Florist Owner John Kewish said.

Kewish has owned the business located in midtown Detroit, Mich., for 25 years, but the business has been in the city since 1918, he said.

With about 91 inches of snowfall recorded this season for Detroit, the winter chill has forced a slowdown for Kewish's delivery schedule and business operations.

According to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Randy Adkins Jr., this year marks the second-snowiest year on record for the city, just four inches shy of the previous record.

"Even the snow we got this year, it really slows you down," he said. "It usually slows us down about 50 percent; our delivery capabilities were cut for a couple of days."

Kewish said they'll focus on completing all of their commercial deliveries first, and delay the residential ones if weather is freezing up the process.

"We do a lot of commercial work," he said, adding that he was fortunate to make the Valentine's Day deliveries without much interference from Mother Nature.

"We were pretty lucky it didn't affect us this year," he said. "We're always worried about the Valentine's Day weather."

Based in Cleveland, Alexander's Floral Designs Owner Richard Roth said he had to hire extra drivers to complete the Valentine's Day delivery routes for his business because of the weather.

"We got everything delivered, but it took more time and drivers and cost more to do it all," he said.

Employing an extra three drivers during the day, all working from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., they were able to complete the task on time, but the extra effort increased Roth's expenses because he did not charge more for the products, he said.

Roth has owned the business for 12 years, but it was founded in 1948. According to Adkins, Cleveland has been hit by a total of 63.3 inches of snow this season, which isn't an annual record breaker, but it still impacted Roth.

"It has definitely slowed us down, which has (required) us to hire more drivers around the holiday periods, especially Valentine's Day," Roth said.

If Roth did not hire more drivers, his delivery schedule would be at least two hours behind schedule if not more, he said.

According to Roth, winter weather makes everything more difficult each year, from delaying delivery schedules, to environmental factors for their drivers including navigating icy walkways, walking through snow and enduring cold air.