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Columbia Missourian

Columbia businesses making adjustments for winter storm

By Yue Jiang, Rachel Lijewski
January 31, 2011 | 4:29 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Pete Wojtowicz was washing a transparent plastic box used to store produce Monday at the Root Cellar on Broadway downtown.

Wojtowicz wasn't scheduled to work Monday.

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"I was called in today because our owner is getting produce from the farm up north today instead of tomorrow," he said.

Other businesses in town were also making adjustments and plans to close on Tuesday because a winter storm was expected to disrupt travel and create blizzard conditions.

MBS Textbook Exchange's four locations will be closed on Tuesday. The firm has 1,200 employees, including 850 at its main location on West Ash Street. Its other locations are on Falling Leaf Lane, West Broadway and North Stadium Boulevard.

"It's the first time in the past five years that we are closed for weather-related reasons," said Jerome Rader, vice president of human resources.

MBS will decide whether to close on Wednesday depending on Tuesday's conditions, Rader said. 

Mike Ebert, owner of the Regency Hotel downtown, said he was suggesting that all of his 15 employees stay overnight at the hotel — possibly until Friday — to serve customers and be safe themselves.

"For the sake of my employees' safety and security, I prefer them to stay in instead of driving in the snow," Ebert said.

Boone County National Bank will remain open Tuesday. Mary Wilkerson, senior vice president of marketing, said the bank has a contingency plan that requires two people for each branch to stay open. "If someone who works at the downtown branch calls in and says he can only make it to the Village branch, then he can work there for the day," she said.

Shakespeare's Pizza stopped making deliveries Monday morning and will not deliver on Tuesday, Shakespeare's employee Isa Dasho said.

Bass Pro Shops was planning to continue business as usual despite the winter storm, Josh Lampton, customer service manager, said Monday afternoon.

"We've seen a lot of propane heaters go out the door," Lampton said.

Jim Camoriano of State Farm Insurance said the local office was waiting to determine whether the business would need to close Tuesday. He said the company would send out an e-mail to its employees by Tuesday morning to let them know.

"Our priority is the safety of our employees," Camoriano said.

He said that in the event the office did close, customers could still call in and be redirected to another location for assistance.

"We are staffed and ready to respond as needed," Camoriano said.