Last-minute holiday shoppers support small businesses, outdoor dining despite winter weather

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- For shoppers on Saturday, it was a game of slip and slide as they navigated the ice and snow left over from the region's winter storm.

Some self-proclaimed procrastinators spent the day navigating the treacherous ice patches to get their holiday gifts in time.

"Shipping, like it's too late for most of my gifts, so I...have to do in person at this point," said Alex Ciesielski of South Philadelphia.

Others braved the weather because they needed a break from COVID's 'new normal.'

"We wanted to get out of the house, and you know, with all the parties and stuff, and not being able to see friends, we took the day to spend time with our family," said Angela Abad of Bear, Delaware.

Even though the temperatures were below freezing, family traditions would stay traditions like for the Dicanplis, who has an annual trip to the city to buy fish for their Christmas dinner.

"Traditions only live if you continue them, so ice, snow, rain, sleet it doesn't matter how cold. You got to come down here, you gotta do it," said Michael Dicanpli of Media, Delaware County.

While the winter weather isn't doing small businesses any favors, the new Pennsylvania restrictions have forced many restaurants to operate outside.

But restaurant owners are forced to get savvy.

"It's exactly the way I thought it would be once it got under 40 degrees," said Bruce Cooper, owner of Jake's and Cooper's Wine Bar Restaurant. "There's only a limited amount of people who want to sit in the cold."

Cooper says he created a wine shop to make up for sales lost during the pandemic.

He adds that he found customers very receptive to the new offerings.

Many people also stood in line, despite the freezing temperatures, to go inside retail shops. Some shoppers said they want to help struggling business owners.

"The nice thing about the pandemic is that we all have to wear masks...it kind of warms up the face," said Liberty Gaither of East Passyunk.
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