01/30/14 — Toughing it out: Where the sign said 'OPEN'

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Toughing it out: Where the sign said 'OPEN'

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on January 30, 2014 1:46 PM

Anyone out looking for something hot to eat Wednesday likely had a little trouble finding it as the winter weather caused delays and closings for city restaurants as they struggled to get even skeleton crews in the door.

Krispy Kreme store manager Tracey Cole made it in to work Wednesday -- alone.

His entire morning shift called off for the snow saying it was too dangerous to drive.

"I showed up at 7 a.m., alone," he said. "I offered to pick them up, but they said they didn't want me getting hurt."

Usually Cole has about five people working in the mornings to get the store ready for business.

"I ran the dough and set up the coffee, like every day," Cole said.

But with no help Cole only made plain donuts and only sold 57 dozen.

A normal day's sale? About 600 dozen, just of the plain ones.

Cole had a backup plan for this morning -- just in case.

"We'll open late (Thursday) but we will open even if I have to bring my family in and put them to work. My son works here part-time and I met my wife working here so we could do it if we had to."

But after deciding to close up shop for the day at about 1:30 p.m., Cole's entire night crew ended up coming in, ready to work.

After about an hour and a half, the glaze was flowing again.

Next door at Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, restaurant owner Jerry Nishonger drove in from Raleigh to check on his Goldsboro location.

All of his employees had shown up.

"We did some pretty typical stuff to plan ahead," Nishonger said. "You try to find people who live close with reliable transportation who can make it in. We have a great crew here at Popeye's."

For Thursday, Nishonger planned to have Popeye's open by noon at the latest to allow his crew to travel in safely.

"Keeping my crew safe is the No. 1 concern," Nishonger said. "We'll definitely be open by lunch to be on the safe side."

Other businesses, though, found it was better to stay closed entirely.

McDonald's shuttered its doors Wednesday and did not open for early breakfast hours on Thursday.