Ice storm leaves its mark on Houston-area businesses

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The effect of the winter storm was different, depending on the business. (KTRK)

The ice storm impacted a number of Houston metro businesses. For many, it hurt revenue, but for others, it created a boost.

Visitors and locals said it was hard to miss the eerie calm created by Tuesday's storm.

"It looks like a ghost town," visitor Myrl Nardinger said. "I'm from Montana, I don't know where they are."

"It was definitely challenging trying to find things to do," Houston resident Julian Morales said.

The Houston Zoo remained closed Wednesday. Zoo officials believe it won't hurt it's revenue too much because January mid-week attendance numbers are usually soft.

Space Center Houston reopened after closing Tuesday, and estimates it missed out on 700 guests. But that wasn't the only industry frozen.

Many restaurants, including The Original Ninfa's on Navigation and Antone's shut its doors.

"The issues that we saw that we were concerned about, particularly with employees' safety, was that they wouldn't be able to get home," Legacy Restaurants CEO Jonathan Horowitz said.

It's a decision ownership says not only hurt its bottom line, but employees as well.

"Particularly for the hourly workers," Horowitz said. "It's difficult because they don't get to earn their wages on the days that we're closed."

Not everyone lost out. BuffBurger made the decision to stay open Tuesday.

"It doesn't matter how bad those roads will get, let's be careful, of course we have to be careful, but we are open," Buffburger operation manager Camilla Lema said.

A dicey decision as first.

"And then we started getting customers coming in," Lema said. "Three or four at a time. We were surprised."

Car mechanics are also big winners.

"We have been a little bit busy with the cold," Midtown Auto Service mechanic Paul Hammack said.

Midtown Auto Service's garage was full of vehicles needing battery work because of the cold conditions.

"When they get older, the cold weather tends to take them out," Hammack said.

A problem that could continue as colder temperatures stick around.

"It's not going to start," Hammack said. "It might drag a little bit. Sometimes if you're lucky you'll get warning signs of the car kind of dragging."

An icy mess that may have closed much of Houston, but at least the memories won't melt away anytime soon.

"A historical event, or something like that," Nardinger said.

Since some were out of work, and other businesses closed, some people we talked to are definitely stir crazy.

The good news is they won't have to wait long.

Ninfa's reopened Wednesday night, and Antone's plans to reopen Thursday.

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