New Orleans Retailers Prep for Tropical Storm Isaac

Tropical Storm Isaac is on course to touch down in New Orleans Tuesday — almost exactly seven years after Hurricane Katrina — and shop owners in the area were busy preparing Monday.

Massey’s Professional Outfitters owner Mike Massey said he’s expecting to lose electricity for a period of time and has made backing up his computers and fulfilling outstanding web orders a priority before closing his five Louisiana stores on Tuesday.

“We’re getting ourselves ready so we can lock it up and go home,” Massey said. “Sales will hurt since we’ll be closed for one or two days. It could also impact what people decide to do for Labor Day weekend.”

Kenny Rubenstein, owner of Rubensteins, also decided to shut down operations on Tuesday as a precaution. Depending on how bad the storm actually gets, he said hopes to reopen on Wednesday.

He’s already put sandbags around high flood areas, taken merchandise and mannequins out of the display windows and updated the store website in preparation for the hurricane.

Although he also expects to take a drop in sales as a result of being closed, Rubenstein said he hopes shoppers will be in a more optimistic mood after the storm passes. 

“I have a sense that a lot of people aren’t leaving town, and they’re just going to hunker down and wait it out,” Rubenstein said. “If the storm clears through by Wednesday, people will still be here, so we expect business to be fine.”

Ele Shoes co-owner Celeste Mikes, too, said she hopes Isaac won’t put a damper on Labor Day weekend sales. With schools and other businesses nearby still open, she said she would wait until Tuesday morning to evaluate whether or not to close then.

And unless the store loses power, Mikes said she expects to be open this weekend.

“Everyone’s on guard, but no one is freaking out,” Mikes said. “We get bad rainstorms all the time in New Orleans so if [Isaac] ends up being just being that, it’s not going to impact us as badly [as it could].”

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