Ice melts, businesses open

Many Pine Belt businesses closed down due to harsh weather conditions this week; others braved through the big freeze.

"We had a couple of pretty terrific days... we have to be open, though, we're so small, shutting down for a couple of days would really be hurting to us. We went through a lot of coffee drinks," said Chris Hackbarth, owner of South Bound Bagel Shop off Front St.

South Bound stayed open during the arctic blast. Hackbarth added that they stayed open because they're a small business and they needed the revenue. Their sales increased by about 25 percent on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Another local business, Glory Bound Gyro Company, closed down on Tuesday, but owner Will Taylor decided to open the doors on Wednesday evening.

"We have a lot of specials that we offer our customers midweek Tuesday and Wednesday. Unfortunately, Old Man Winter put a damper on that," Taylor said.

One of those offers is their 5 dollar gyro day, which usually falls on Tuesday, but they changed it to Thursday for this week only.

"Whenever we closed Tuesday, we knew that we had to make that offer on Thursday, just for our customers," Taylor added.

Hattiesburg Clinic Eye Associates had to shut down operations on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the thick layer of ice that covered Highway 98. Staff began making phone calls to patients on Monday night.

"We went ahead and rescheduled as many as we possibly could to make sure they were on the schedule, because even moreso than the financial aspect of it, the number one reason why we're here is for patient care and to ensure they have the best care that they can possibly receive," said Harris Bell, Hattiesburg Clinic Eye Associates manager.

Hattiesburg Clinic kept their patients and employees informed about hours via Facebook and phone during the freeze.