Kimberly Holt, owner of Pandora’s Pies in downtown Elon, said her decision to close early during the hurricane weather for the safety of her employees meant losing out on business from one her business’s busiest weekends of the year. 

Holt said Pandora’s Pies lost power Friday morning, causing the business to open late. But after the power came back on, she made the call to close altogether, allowing her employees who live further away to get back home sooner and avoid the worst of Ian’s weather conditions. 

“Some of the parents were still like, ‘What do you mean you’re closing early?’” Holt said. “Y’all traveled here in the middle of a hurricane, but my employee safety is more important than making any money.”

Despite having to close early, Holt said sales numbers on Oct. 1 were similar to what her business saw in previous years over Family Weekend. 

This was consistent with other businesses in downtown Elon as well. Chris Brumbaugh, owner of The Root and TANGENT Eat + Bar, wrote in an email to Elon News Network his businesses were not heavily affected. 

“During open hours this year both places were at capacity pretty much,” Brumbaugh wrote. “There are lots of other factors involved, but the numbers ended up being similar to previous years.”

Along with Pandora’s Pies, two other businesses in downtown Elon — TANGENT Eat + Bar and Barnes & Noble — lost power because of hurricane weather. Holt said she would have liked more communication directly from the university. While she has dealt with hurricanes and winter storms before, Holt never before experienced this during a special event.

“For Elon not to make a decision until Friday afternoon when people’s parents were already in town or on their way to town, it would have been nice if Elon would have made a decision earlier in the week,” Holt said.

Holt said an earlier decision would have impacted her decision to purchase extra products in anticipation of Family Weekend crowds. Now, she is left with an excess of supplies and perishables, but she said she still feels lucky downtown Elon didn’t lose power for longer. 

“I’m grateful that it was only out for three hours. If it would have been off for a whole day, I would have lost a ton of products in the walk-in that just got delivered Friday morning,” Holt said. “We definitely have a lot of stuff that we were prepping. We have a lot of extra stuff that now we’re going to have to figure out what to do with so we don’t waste it because we thought we would have used it.”