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WWL>Topics>>1-30 1:10pm Angela, businesses weather the winter storm

1-30 1:10pm Angela, businesses weather the winter storm

Jan 30, 2014|

What short term and long term impact did the BIG FREEZE have on business & industry...large and small? In the first half hour, Angela speaks to Terry Lanaux of Lagensteins, Chris Bennett of Bennett Camera and Trisha Philpot, Assistant GM of Lakeside Shopping Center. In the second half hour, we were joined by Lauren Cason, Director of Marketing for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with, Miguel Solorzano of Hotel Modern about the about the impact on tourism.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

-- aren't you just singing what a difference a day makes unbelievable. How beautiful it is today after two days of deep freeze. Well the big freeze is past us and what an experience really for all of us. You know kids got a few days at a school perhaps you got a couple of days to stay home in and do whatever. But what about businesses big and small. What did the two days of southern discomfort is Don and skulls that due to them and -- Did you have to closure doors if you stayed open how was business please let us know give us a call 260. 187260187. But on the line with this to tell us their experiences. Bart -- Orlando. With -- instinct fifth generation owner with over 100 employees and two locations. How to be handle it. Chris Bennett with -- camera has thirteen employees but a couple who live on the North Shore. What did he decide to do when the forecast was ice ice and more rice. And how about closing a mall like lakeside where do you begin. -- Phil -- with this to explain she is the assistant general manager I appreciate all of you joining us. I think we were all thinking so much about all the kids are off from school and nobody is driving and and then all of a sudden the reality of gee these are businesses that may be closing. Some gonna ask each of -- let me start with them train -- instinct kind of what was your thought process on you know what are we gonna do. What we had it figured out fires did it kind of caught off guard Monday's start out -- the normal day in and quickly just got. Crazy busy quickening and -- and trying to distort the back of the store. We realized what was going on we need to figure out wide and on Tuesday just kept watching the weather watch in the latter trying to. Stay open that long because it's been making sure that we govern well it comes say. And finally made the call around -- to shut it down at war. And so -- closed down one on Tuesday and then opened up again on Wednesday. And and you're the thought process is just basically. Getting people problems facing being able to get them to workspace. And did everybody was everybody able to do that. Yet there doesn't warrant you know which ultimately helped people get to works great -- -- on -- part feeling is just. Who felt we needed to be open which is because it's so people could have suit but but at the same time everybody is very understanding. And again you have the two location you have the one uptown on Arab dollar and then another run Metairie road. So I'm assuming that your employees are in both parish. -- -- And we have lots of people on the West Bank which of course is a little more complicated -- -- all over the city so I'm everybody -- different situation. But Chris -- your wonderful camera stork. Thirteen employees what what were you thinking. Well certainly it is a fair amount actually goes into a situation like Paris. We -- Monday that you know something was gonna kind of be out and on Tuesday morning we try to evaluate the situation. -- you try to balance the needs of customers that have always your business. And so you know small business -- -- on the so -- pitchers are concerned about welfare employees and certainly -- -- but Democrats situation so. We want -- on Tuesday. And you know we had some employers acclimated again. But then when you when people applaud when decide okay everybody needs to all of the track keep everybody safe. So actually will we're we're probably on Tuesday and we model -- that at noon on Wednesday. So no you didn't open at all on Tuesday so Monday night you're making these decisions. Actually I didn't make that decision until Tuesday morning. Yes that's why I don't want to shoot -- -- what was gonna happen so. -- we -- about a group message on Tuesday morning that your that your predecessors securities and you don't want that. What's the state local authorities. Decide that -- -- -- people to stay home -- -- a traffic stop drop off at that point to some degree anyway. So. Having employers who live on the shore plot. West Bank. No I don't want them coming in and be stuck here in the afternoon and not at all. Well -- -- -- I can't even imagine a 120. Still workers. Where do you begin. While like he said we have a 120. Individuals Thornton on land has unique security and and what we often you mean sometimes -- decision is very and it actually is very clear if a parent is being evacuated -- the mob doesn't have power we know. What we're doing. Other times. That decision and not as simple and often we leave that decision to close their open in the hands of pretend. And then it becomes our job to support the decisions that -- me and that was the case predicament. We left the decision in the hands American. Settle on some of them did decide to clip on Tuesday and that some of them operated on. Shorten our and then on Wednesday. -- the -- stores as painfully year. And IQ -- about 80% of the stores in the mall are open and today on all the stores are open Panama. How do you communicate with and you have like a giant meeting. Oh yeah and and communicate in deem it important to me and when -- the weather event. In the area. And the mom's place out of the people in the greater New Orleans area they come from Oliver obviously and we try Arafat not to jump the gun by. Com. -- things happen when weather might threaten the area and one at least start activity -- communications system with our tenants and that is. We prepare a URL that allowed managers and owners district managers corporate happens stores to register themselves to receive all updates. And we create template on this thing out -- updates to all the doors. And then. The next thing that happens as we prepare and on the property for what lies ahead and we take measures to protect things that he does support you know the decision that -- -- And then the banking in the field so called from every store manager district manager employees mothers and employees customers and -- -- There's -- -- coming. Into whether it. And so you're just print for sunshine than 300 days a year. Saturday night but I would not be up. At the Louisiana. So. So if the -- at 75%. Of the 120 stores choose not to open you're still gonna open and turn on the heat and everything you have security for those who are choosing to stay. We have at our party security company and their security at the -- 24 hours today every day. And -- we often have we supplement our security Catholic Jefferson Parish deputies. And we also have an agreement with Jefferson Parish -- a fabulous relationship but them they have the ability is set up shop in our parking garage -- When there's an emergency event. And they based or vehicles -- and I'm. And they -- that you know I think need. Did they do that this time they they. Well we all survived that big freeze it was a very interesting experience. We're talking with some business operators both big and small. About what they've faced the decision making process at what point was -- Monday was -- Tuesday to keep your employees you'll let him go home. How do you communicate with them to get them back. And I'm so thrilled that that trade Leno with Langdon stains Chris Bennett with Bennett camera. And Trish -- -- assistant general manager of lakeside or joining us -- we'd love to hear from you about how you handled it. I don't know how appropriate this is but have you thought now the financial loss. Well actually in an arcade com would probably came out and it financially because of the storm. Talking behind -- yet. Our own people you know we're stocked up on groceries big time and Tuesday and Wednesday were slower than normal days but. -- that we we would we came out of it. You made me laugh when you said you started seeing all these people coming in Monday. Not lining up because I went to version story and believe me there were wrapped around the building. There is something about oh my gosh were facing this disaster that may be 2448 hours we have to get enough food for a month. Yeah I've I've never seen that every shopping cart we had been used before. And and that was the case Monday. So again you. Closed on Tuesday for a while and opens late on Wednesday in the right. And Maginnis is sound but -- was talking about what how do you communicate with a hundred employees. Well I communicate directly with all of the department and sort managers. And then make communicate directly with dead people in their apartments. And would you say what 7589%. Of your employees stayed on. We probably had 75. Per cent of our people on Tuesday. And probably close to behind the only hit that. Let me ask you and Chris in particular. Is there any kind of insurance that will handle any an event like this worth he had to really closed for two full days. I think it has disruption insurance so this would be for that. I don't really know exactly. What qualifies. Get paid out of that. But an electorate in the storms and report it close and we were able to receive something and act. And that was the first time I'd ever heard of business in eruption. Simply because until -- the business I would know about it but it was a handy thing for many people had. But I just was curious if there was something similar for short term. Short term break. -- you -- what my experiences. With what unemployment poverty not implement our business -- insurance. In over Katrina it takes -- a certain number of days were again. And you know invest in this particular situation as such short skirted Ahmad I don't know that -- -- applicable. You know put things in perspective businesses. Up a lot of people 2440. Hours. You know Katrina was two months. So. You know as a business it kind of pale in comparison but down. You know I think it also affects important agreed -- if you're if you're normally work for real work week you -- -- -- percent of your pay check. So -- so it's pretty weighty decision. And and I know that's the issue with -- is well. That there are people who -- work hourly and they don't have those hours. That track yes and it and in the mall and firemen that same time employees here are hourly and day on. You know David Kaye Ballard -- and hopefully you know they take it the ability to make them up but they certainly won't have the ability to make are all there are about. -- Crist. Have running a smaller business as you do not that thirteen small bit. -- a business like that have you felt of how this is going to impact you financially. Well. I think for a -- Not generally the area a loss of revenue so much as postponement. You know whether cameras are pictures are or what have you unlike a hurricane evacuation where you're gonna you don't -- -- absent hotel and and so forth. Of people are gonna top pick up after this and -- actually -- -- they were. Planning project or purchase or talk -- Mike it's just going to be postponed for days not necessarily -- It's very good news. Buddy -- thing when you heard what was happening in Atlanta. And some of the home depots open because people literally slept on their floor. They could -- at home. Yeah I think I think here they eat a lot of that morning and certainly adequate job. You know some of the reports of that scene from from news and to try and spare -- -- situation. It's much larger area as well. But I was pleased about the via local -- channel -- here. Oh I think without question it was John across the board all of the parishes just were ahead of the game. And and I do feel badly for the people in Atlanta but we only have to look at that to know how well -- was going. Those poor people my word I mean you 24 hours on an expressway. Terrible. Terrible terrible. So what else what else have you learned from this this is different for months. Yes it is. This is kind of actually from -- on the reverse of what do. -- hurricane like everybody was -- appear both for. The storm whereas for hurricane people generally. They don't want a lot of food in their first curator and an -- ratio after the storm. So this kind of the reverse of that -- and that was not what we were expecting call. And Chris -- you -- you just look at this as a postponement for anybody who had projects. Sure I think it'll pick up or left stock now when everybody starts to stall while. The pencil. Does anybody live across the North Shore. -- -- how much did you miss that causeway. Come I didn't I definitely missed the cut play yet. -- competed very very long when he have to background. Now it is that to the mall do you think that they'll be I can just in vision and you know -- snow sales. Content clever marketing things. I'm like Chris and and trade but it meant that and I think that we're still learning umpire Rick he'll be that the rest of the story is still yet to be poll of because we won't know the total impact. Of Spain and Italy can get through the next step weaker Q you can see on what consumers spending like after Hannity and you know we are very familiar -- with -- consumers react after hurricane like. Chris that you know they spend my money going out of town and and they cupid typically delayed their purchases. And they don't come back into campaign spent lots of money normally. Bit and we Pelé. There is the potential for -- and Q come into the maul you on. To be an environment that's warm where they can the other people get out of the house. Let their kids locker -- that and it's that you know of course that meant for entertainment for them and and we elect people. Can very well be ready to you on. Since -- go back. Oh absolutely yesterday usage you opened at 2 o'clock. Hall of Tupac we had 80% of our stores campaign that some of them -- at 10 AM. But by two week we gave our stores option delaying their opening after. And did you have a crowd. I'm you know there weren't a lot of people here and there were that there are more -- your primary typically at the mall and they were either delayed you know on their plates. -- they are looking for something to deal -- -- intellect. But it wasn't it was a very busy after. Chris and I know you're in sort of a little mini area with other businesses around. Did you see any of them open. She actually yesterday morning I didn't see -- hardly anybody. And -- came into the office early. Probably about 8 o'clock. Trying. -- just get some work done and whatnot but to. There there were a lot of businesses now -- open and it seems like almost site correctly we will be decided to open at noon. People just started to show a lot I think they were getting. Locked up in their homes and in what not and and not the conditions had improved certainly on West Coast so they don't that are below are some of the small streets so. -- they were able to have to talk about and an anxious to do so. So it's build it and they will come open it and they will -- Which you -- One just one final thought from -- wall on here we've had another bonding experience as a community. Yes definitely everybody -- despite all the problems that we had there was no complaining everybody. The good news in just kind of don't take it in stride. Well I can't thank you all enough sharing your experience. And hopefully of the beautiful weather from here on out. Thank you -- -- okay thanks a lot we're talking about what happened in the last 48 hours I think a learning experience for so many of us. -- in some ways not to find other ways. But sort of an eye opener perhaps were local businesses. Certainly we've got the old hurricane down pat and how to handle that. But this was something different and and I'm just curious on what businesses stint. How employees handled it did you have any business it's -- I'd like to know from -- too so don't hesitate to call us 260. 187. We are now joined by Lauren -- director of marketing communication. And governmental affairs it's -- new -- convention and visitors center. And Miguel Solarz on the home with the hotel modern at least circle and I appreciate both of -- being here happy to be -- -- and Miguel. Very very good I just sent -- I love ritual to put the lights on the front of that. -- so subtle and -- so romantic. Thank you very much like poppy appreciate it. Not so let's talk about this big freeze. Do you wall all of a sudden start listening to news or you get signals only gosh something's happening what do we have a plan. Well from Edmonton as a parent and or on tourism marketing corporation we immediately you are in touch with the mayor's office and on -- city personnel and getting updates from them where at their office for important meetings -- just hitting in the press conferences to make sure that. We're letting them know. You know about the visitors in the -- the how many people we have power handling it and it that we can hear firsthand -- what their plans aren't count out there. You know. How things are being being addressed in this city what's open snide and to -- can relate that to. Our members who aren't hotels the restaurants its actions. They can make the prior. They. The decisions that they need to go by the Pakistani opener how to handle -- And and relayed that information at them as well so we kind of take that role as the communication channel and act in a crisis situation that's nature. Miguel do you have always a planned argued sort of go with the flow of what's happening. Not a matter of fact that situation. I'm sure us for many other preferences in the city. To grip a little bit by surprise and without me and a plan of action that we would normally house but you mentioned earlier. A hurricane plan is something that we -- down packed. On and I considered it a little bit of a hurricane type of situation we we looked at our. Action plan for hurricane evacuations. And executed something similar to two data of course. I'm making a few variations given the fact that we had kept staying in the towel and also the staff members that. Needed to come by on two circuit does gas. How many employees do you have. I have thought that any eight employees and that would help on the enough which I created a group of or at least a small team that's stayed behind. -- for the past stuff three days. And they were responsible for the day to day operations at the hotel so I had seven staff members that stayed behind. In of course I encouraged anyone else who lived. Near by that we're careful to either walk. On the court peak is -- public transportation or other ways of getting to the hotel on the way too hot coming in and help. In the different areas that we needed assistance swept. Did you have a full house. I'm not a full house so we were still have been very good occupancy and to reach out indefinitely a few gaps that. We're not able to -- on time past they had planned. So we have to work that -- and recreating. They are reactionaries and and travel plans and extend them a little bit longer. Well that was very lucky for them -- yeah I think -- how many times have we seen as we did earlier this year. Not in not after Christmas what was happening in the northeast and people literally sleeping and airports for a couple of days so to have a hotel there is monumental. And appreciated. Let's talk about Lauren. It was a huge convention. A car dealers. It's. Any DA the national and that yen dealers association was just wrapping up their meeting on Monday says the fairy tale and so. Most of their their attendees were able to get out there where somehow or inconvenience. And did stay a little longer you know into that house -- the city were wonderful and making sure that they are taking care and they've really taken in stride and you know understand that everyone was looking out for there safety you know what that something that was just impacting you'll island that was you know the whole region and a lot of that. Across the country as my house so. On there really great and had a wonderful hospitality and -- rounds is known for so I think overall. It was a good experience and we worked with airlines can picture and it will be cut them. On the -- flights out that -- -- available -- safe and so overall I think and if you Packers -- timing wise we didn't have another. Large city -- convention has Pickens commence in -- is concerned. Coming in writing this week we did have some smaller meetings. That we're being housed at the hotels. It's a better handle on a case by case basis you know depending on. When there arriving and departing from an area of the country they are coming from -- Over around and I think that after one thought taking care of Anna and knew that their safety was all of our parity you know when it Arab where was running. If the roads are safe and they can get to the airports in it was a major absolutely you know airline highway was the only artery yesterday for most of the day. But just making sure that pirates are safe and -- their worst places to get stuck. You can look at me like if I have to say that and I just wonder -- McGill when those people who couldn't get out. Say that the hotel where you also trying to help them. You know is there -- restaurant open is there another -- -- that not that you don't have that you do. I guess that's the matter by just prior to guest. Deciding to leave the property here tried to make it to the airport. It was an effort of course now. Q little work with that individual trip find out whether or not what routes are open how to get to that definition appear. I'm trying to get -- -- -- the cast I'm wondering out on the street com too. And to leave the property on recount. Restaurant I mean are -- full circle bar and both the locations remain open. Throughout the week. I'm so we were able to offer brick lunch and dinner we normally do to roll -- -- telecasts and also to the local. I'm precedents in the central business district that was able to come by and and and enjoy some -- Through it and and trade during that developed. Say -- that is great because you can they are so many people now living downtown they can just walk. And not the sort hopefully not hit the -- walking -- no I think it's something like that people do wanna be with. With others. -- and then we we've we've found that mania are precedents in this city's. In other opportunities may have not come by to the hotel. Took it upon themselves to. Have a gathering place for them and their friends and family. It's like foraging for a couple. And that we found this new wonderful hotel and this great bar but this is great and didn't calls and say you're back to work and he kind of -- lasted one more day just kidding. Our guest today Miguel -- on who was the GM of the modern hotel at least circle and Lauren Cason who was with the New Orleans. Not tourism and convention. Wonderful organization. Wonderful hotel but this is. Reality. Whether things happen and all of a sudden you've got to go into a mode of were responsible for people. Both employees and guests. And you know I hate to say this but especially for you Miguel at some point you're looking at did we lose money. Correct and not was -- quite a bit a bit of a concern to our property owners as well. -- and on what we were fortunate enough. Two had had a good level of business are starting the week. And when the weather conditions have worsened that we were able to maintain that same level of fitness. Whether assistant up against the restocking shelves. Or I'm. Bringing in a few additional. Precedents of the city that. On whether they have power no power here locations they chose to. Seek shelter at a hotel. And it's march you know if you're concerned yeah very very Smart it's my understanding correct me if I'm wrong that. Now the rule is during hurricane hotels to not take up residence in is that correct. That is correct. -- once the evacuation. Notice there's been. Send it to this city we have to abide by it and of course I'm not allow. Precedence to come into our property and evacuate. -- Because that was the way it was for years I can remember going to a downtown hotel only not to spend the night the because they had food. -- giant -- to red beans and the car that was terrific but I can certainly understand where then all of a sudden you're responsible you have to get them. It so very very Smart. Let's talk about how business is going. It's funny like team as as a make. A Teddy bear with some active vacant and it's you know we had -- -- this weekend and expect -- in the city as their General Maritime so. At stoke on an honest -- this weekend and then. The couple weeks at MBA all star game. And -- Delhi he is the wrestle mania will be here earlier sex so. So this next these next couple months and a few tests and they -- fancy now on there are stem. Some as -- times through the years that we're working on fell short term groups but overall it's. An exciting year for for the city with a lot going on and this festivals and and convention. And I think there's been such a wonderful campaign about. Taking a vacation in your own hometown and I know so many people who do that they take a week and they bring their kids and they just enjoy this town. The summer it's a great time we actually in the in August -- UA EPA terrorists in your own hometown. On campaign that you know all the hotels offer lower rates for residents. We also partner that with our culinary program where restaurants and offer around two and three course meals. For a discounted price -- great opportunity. Team to maybe stay taken action stay patient in addition your vacation or remove your vacation and so vacation that's a great words news. Up Miguel how long have you been here. I think I've written and at New -- for now seven years. And you had been a hotel work prior. Yes I have. I've been in hotels that you are not the fury turned nineteen. We're going to tell. Blows nineteen hotels who have worked for the number in 1990. -- years. And how would you rate New Orleans. -- New -- it's a place and now I call home hi I'm from different cities and I have. How the opportunities to live. And three different other locations seen in the United States. However. There's not a place like new ordinance. The sense of family culture and tradition that the city offered. It's. Remarkable and and it's one that I house. Truly enjoyed and appreciated. And so it's it's easy for you when somebody comes in to stay at the hotel decide let me tell you about selling so you need to go city. Absolutely I actually know the hornets have a lot better than my hometown. Oh that's interesting look for I think Lauren -- the same thing we were talking earlier about what a wonderful job she has being able to promote the city and how. You know initially people who have not been to other places but if you have you really get how special bonuses. It -- appreciate what you have here. And just you know we get like with the inexperience and any weekend that we honest vacation -- and talc. -- -- tests and you know of the free festivals and activities that we have here. To enjoy it's remarkable. Let me finish of this sort of off topic here only because it's it is a sort of a bone of contention. We did an interview with the transportation director and she was saying when the bus is rolling -- says mr. Carson were very organized and -- very well done. And yet the the -- and port and it was whether we understand that but I understand that a great many of the service industry people really are dependent on that -- And I just wonder your thoughts on you know they they want the hours extended because they work shift work. -- -- -- -- We've expressed fifteen council members in and different you know high profile people on you know taken and we need. To support and -- workers in every way possible we realize and it's an it is an expensive house and figuring out the past transfer of -- to help everyone to be fashion and and and sharing markers to continue ten. To have their same -- that they carry network and ten and -- their tops yes and on another in transition. But it's just such an important component Newton transportation and we're lucky to have the transportation we do that's another thing. If you've ever live in the community didn't have the public transportation. Absolutely all my gosh we're good history cars and the passes and RT that's a wonderful job our guest today Michael so Lozano who winds on the GM of the modern hotel and Lauren -- With the New Orleans tourism and convention business and we're talking about. -- Everything was affected in our number one industry. With the big freeze but with content more customer talking about. How very good our tourism world years and this is not without effort and I think people need to know that this just a magically happen. You really do market the said. We do we we. Berquist. Meeting planners across the country to bring convention to -- that and we also where have mash on terrorism department and works at an international markets to bring this -- And you know Purcell and Tyner to markets that are growing substantially thanks Christine -- Numbers -- travelers to the last from these countries so. They're really targets of our estimation that they're coming to ignore -- and -- coming to the US senate panel the huge concentration. Of -- moving forward on and great news for us was that National Geographic traveler. Just named new Lawrence -- at the must see destinations. In 2014. So we were one of only. Twenty countries -- and to be on the short list like that is pretty phenomenal unknown that is more than phenomenal. -- do you not as a hotel market. Get with the matter back an independent hotel we have here do a lot of marketing in order for people to realize what we are and where we are. I'm so we do have a great reach not only in the region opposite of the southern region but also that national and international. Level. -- had mentioned Brazil it is. One of those locations that we look at. Or does this does choppers are coming to -- -- That they look at our modern hotel at an opportunity for them to say. It's wonderful and I wanna thank you Miguel very much Alan thank Lauren. And all of our guests talking about the business side of the big freeze by also have to say happy birthday to mark roaming. Happy birthday wonderful man heads up that great organizations thank you so much when everybody just stay with -- because in our next hour we're gonna talk to. How did all of this ice affect our crops. And it did so stay with this.

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