It is difficult to deny the beauty of an evening snowfall. Heavy flakes bring a tender halt to the hectic traffic of the city streets. Especially for the city’s introverts, the storms are the perfect excuse to curl up with a blanket, hot tea, and a good book while the snow blows the workday away. But for local businesses, a storm can bring major revenue losses that cannot be made up.

As New England is accustomed to substantial storms, restaurants like Washington Square’s Fireplace have in the past tried methods to balance the inevitable loss.

“For years I sent an email blast, ‘Open During Blizzards,'” says The Fireplace owner Jim Solomon. “I believe that The Fireplace is a beautiful place to come during the storm because we have the roaring fire, big windows, great cocktails and hearty food.” Solomon ran the email campaign for years and made arrangements with the local hotels so the staff would have a safe place to stay during the night of the storm. At times, he drove to pick up some of the crew in effort to “have the Fireplace as a beacon of light during a harsh blizzard.” However, two years ago Solomon says he received harsh criticism through social media that accused him of oppressing his workers and putting them in unsafe conditions. Solomon argues that his “staff are [often] young kids who need the money and want to work.” But he has since ceased sending out the email. Now, he closes the restaurant, as it is too expensive to open the doors if no one knows the Fireplace is open.

To get a sense of the numbers, the business for Fireplace was down 75% at the beginning and immediately after the storms, and down 100% during the 5 days it had to close, yielding approximately $50,000 worth of losses in the past two weeks.

To figure out new ways to defeat loss of revenue, it can be trial and error. “We have tried closing during the day and opening at night but it hasn’t proven to be worth it financially,” says Solomon. The cost of the staff exceeds the revenue from the customers. In effort to counter this year’s revenue losses the Fireplace will be opening a half hour early Saturday and Sunday this weekend for brunch, meaning 10:30 am instead of the usual 11:00. They are also offering to deliver your dinner right to your door (wearing snowshoes if necessary!) Places like The Fireplace are counting on heavy Valentine’s Day traffic, but another storm is predicted for Saturday night that threatens to discourage eating out.

Tough as the weather can be on larger restaurants, smaller cafes and bakeries can face similar struggles. Abe Faber, owner of Clear Flour Bakery, must decide by noon today whether or not to close for the upcoming storm. The bread is made with ingredients like natural starters that have to be remixed and kept alive meaning bread-making is a 48-hour process. “We don’t have a product that can sit on the shelf, and if the weather forecast gets it wrong and we’ve closed then there would be no bread. We are committed to baking the bread,” says Faber.

David Leschinsky, owner of Eureka!, a staple Coolidge Corner puzzle, games, and mindbenders store, points to loss of revenue and abbreviated open hours, but also delayed inventory and shipping of merchandise have been problematic. Even an event during Brookline’s Climate Week, sponsored by Eureka! was canceled on Tuesday thanks to the snow. With delays, fewer customers and cancelations, business owners like Leschinsky have felt the ever-increasing pressure from the competition of convenient Internet purchases. People who might normally shop at a local small business like Eureka! are stuck at home, bored, and find it more convenient to order from other online businesses rather than venture out.

For those who are concerned about icy streets, Brookline businesses try to keep up with shoveling and salting as much as possible. So bundle up yourself and the kids and take a walk to downtown Brookline. You’ll get fresh air, exercise, and help your local economy.

—By Adriana Hammond