MARIETTA - While the oppressive heat and aftermath of a June 29 storm that knocked out power to thousands of area residents slowed down or brought some activities to a halt, certain businesses saw increased traffic.
Businesses that sold or rented generators, hotels where folks without power could get relief from the heat and places selling ice, water and gasoline - or at least places people hoped would have those products - were busier than normal in the days that followed the storm.
For some it was a big boost and for others it helped offset the losses the storm created.
Many people were firing up generators, sharing generators or wishing they had one. A number of people ventured out to buy one of the machines, leading Lowe's in Marietta to sell out of them "two or three times," said Reggie Raines, assistant manager at the Pike Street store.
"They got replenished as soon as they could," he said.
It's not uncommon for the store to sell generators, but those transactions usually don't come in such a compressed period of time, Raines said.
He noted people are still looking at the items, even after power has been restored in most, if not all, of the area.
"Most people (have been) been used to the power being out for a day or two," Raines said. "People just saw it, and they felt like they wanted to be prepared."
Marietta residents Mark and Evelyn Potter stopped while at Lowe's this week to look at a large natural gas generator capable of powering an entire house.
"I was going to purchase one (before), and it just kind of got away from me," Mark Potter said.
The couple were without power for a little more than two days and had a gasoline-powered generator. Although they said they figured the recent situation was a "once-in-a-lifetime" occurrence, the Potters were still thinking about getting a more powerful, more economical generator.
Raines said Lowe's also did brisk business in various areas, including rakes, roofing supplies and other items related to cleanup.
Some people seemed to just want to come in and experience the air conditioner - Raines among them since his home was without power for seven days.
"It was fun to come to work," he said.
The Marietta Holiday Inn only had a few vacancies when the lights went out on June 29, and over that weekend those were snapped up quickly by people looking for cooler accommodations, said assistant manager Jay Croxton.
"We (were) pretty much sold out every night," he said. "We had to turn like 30 or 40 people away" in a single night.
Other hotels reported increased occupancy as well.
Service stations were closely watched by residents looking for gasoline for their generators and vehicles, and other products, leading to long lines.
"People without power, they need water and ice and food they can eat right then," said Sandy Johnson, manager of Marathon Food Center 15 in Little Hocking.
The station didn't have power until the Monday after the storm, which meant it couldn't sell gasoline. But employees continued to offer other items, recording transactions by hand.
"It boosted our candy sales big time," Johnson said. "I don't know why everyone was so hot on the chocolate."
Johnson said the increased business probably offset the losses from the products the store couldn't sell over the weekend.
The Food Center's situation was not unique. A cashier at the Go Mart in the Walmart complex on Pike Street said they were "completely swamped" in the wake of the storm, and Timmy V's in McConnelsville set new sales records the day after the power went out.
United Rentals' Marietta office also saw a definite uptick in business, said Tracey Ayers, branch manager.
"I think we worked from ... 7:30, 8:30 that evening (June 29) to about 4:30 that morning," he said.
One of their first jobs was to deliver generators to area plants with which they have contracts.
"Most of the plants have critical operations that they've got to keep up and going" for safety reasons, Wright said.
The company also worked with local water plants to keep them going, the Red Cross to provide portable air-conditioning units for cooling stations and homeowners and small businesses.
Wright said United is a national company that can shift resources to areas where there is more need in such situations. For example, the company's power division in Cleveland brought larger generators to this region.
"We basically started calling on our resources that we've got out there," he said.