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Small Businesses Lukewarm On Water Credits

Reported: Feb. 4, 2014 10:34 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Stefano DiPietrantonio) – Small businesses had to shut their doors at the beginning of the water crisis. They lost thousands of dollars in business, in addition to the cost associated with flushing their lines. Now, they’re getting a bit of a break from West Virginia American Water.

We talked with some local businesses about the one-time credit they’ll be getting on their bills. While the amount is something, business owners told us it could have been bigger, given the hits they’ve taken all-around since the crisis began.

"Public has really responded well and we've appreciated everything," said Tracy Abdalla, who manages the Adelphia bar and grill in Charleston. But it’s the response from West Virginia American Water that makes him pause. "Seems a little bit light!," he said wryly.

The 20 dollars and change the water company is offering as a payback for flushing and cleaning is small, when you compare it to what the water crisis cost the popular sports bar and grill, which was substantially more than 20 dollars in business.

"Obviously, it was the middle of the playoffs and that wasn't good for business," said Abdalla.

"Yes, I lost business, but I lost more than twenty dollars and 58 cents worth of business so, but I think it's important they do make amends,” said Ted Brightwell, owners of Visions Day Spa in Charleston. "I know people are reacting and people are feeling like they have been cheated, but on the other hand, I don't know that the water company has to give us anything else, I feel like they've done a pretty good job trying to make this mess go away."

"I appreciate the water company's doing what they're doing,” said Abdalla. “A lotta people have been hurt by this situation, this has been the most unfortunate situation, and it affected not just our business, but all business around."

According to a study just released by the Marshall University Center For Business & Economic Research estimates businesses in the 9-county area, lost roughly 19-million for each business day the water ban was in effect. The total of 61-million is a figure the Center said represents just the first four days following January 9th.

"The bottom line is though, we really want to make sure that the water is healthy and safe," said Brightwell.

The County said the CDC and the EPA are due back in Charleston some time this week and they’ll be doing another round of testing. It will also hopefully allay fears, and give customers and restaurants the confidence they need, to use the tap water. The bulk and bottled water distributions dry-up this Friday, February 7th.



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