Chicago Businesses Make Money from Blizzard

Business is booming for plow companies and other businesses that help rescue cars trapped in the snow

While the Feb. 1 blizzard shut down many businesses across the city on Monday, some businesses were booming from the clean-up effort.

Jersey Hall of Lincoln Towing in Ravenswood said he has been rescuing buried cars in 18-hour shifts the last few days and called the boost in business "a late Christmas gift."

"There are more stranded cars than cars driving around, for example. It's bad out there. It's really bad," Hall said.

Bad is good for people like Hall, however. Don Johnson of D & E Industrial Services has also seen an uptick in his business. He said his phone has been ringing non-stop with requests to clear residential parking lots along the lakeshore.

"To make money off of things that cause other people a little bit of trouble, but that's what it's all about around here," Johnson said.

For other businesses, the workload has become too immense. Rodrigo Alcala, who has been fielding requests for plow services via an app called "Plowz," said he has had so many requests he had to start turning them down.

Not everyone is cashing in from the Super Bowl storm, however. Art Van Furniture, which has six stores throughout the Chicago area, offered full refunds for customers who bought furniture on Jan. 1, 2, 3 and 17 after the company promised those customers a refund if it snowed more than 3 inches on Super Bowl Sunday.

The furniture store will refund $2 million to 1,900 customers in March, according to store manager Rick Cote. The customer with the biggest refund will receive $16,000.

"It's our customers who win," Cote said.

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