Maryland Morning
8:55 am
Fri February 14, 2014

How Does A Snowstorm Affect Maryland's Economy?

Sheilah Kast talks with Daraius Irani about the economic impact of snowstorms.
Vicki Schassler shoveled the sidewalk in front of Spirits of Mount Vernon in Baltimore.
Credit Stephanie Hughes

The heavy snow closed most schools and many offices yesterday. But some people had to work… someone had to clear the roads and sidewalks.  It raises a very unromantic question on this Valentine’s Day: what’s the economic impact of a winter storm?

Wayne Steinbach is a truck driver for a Baltimore construction company. Most days, he’s moving building materials. But, yesterday, with construction sites shut down, he was moving a different material: snow.  "I’ve been out every snowfall," said Steinbach. 

The construction company Steinbach works for owns a building on North Charles Street. City codes say property owners must shovel their sidewalks after a snowfall. So, he's being paid to do a job that isn’t directly going to making his employer money. And, the job he’d normally be doing isn’t getting done. All because of the snowstorm.

Meanwhile, some business owners saw a net positive. Vicki Schassler, who works at Spirits of Mount Vernon wine shop in Baltimore, said she had above average business, and was doing a brisk trade, particularly in red wine and bourbon. "The news reports did a good job of saying what the weather was going to be like, so people did a good job of making sure they had enough alcohol to get them through."

One group of businesses that could be hard hit by the storm are florists. Pearson’s Florist owner Vander Pearson said orders have dropped off dramatically. "I’m looking and hoping I can get rid of all of these flowers and bears and balloons."

Sheilah Kast talks about the possible economic impact with economist Daraius Irani, Executive Director of the Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University.

Produced by Matt Purdy