She kept her store open for days without power: 'It's what the community needed'

Posted at 11:59 AM, Feb 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 11:59:51-05

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. -- Some businesses impacted by February's ice storms and power outages have come together to help their communities and thank utility crews that have worked to restore power in the hardest-hit regions.

One of those businesses is Bishop's BBQ in Dinwiddie County.

"My husband and I had a conversation, we knew there was something we needed to do," Whitney Bishop said.

While the Bishops served up meals to power crews, the community stepped up as well.

"What we didn't know is the response we would get from our customers, the community, our family helping out, donations, we didn't ask for donations. We were willing to do it, just out of the good of our heart, did it, was just something people stepped up and helped with," Bishop said.

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Similar scenes played out at Giuseppe's Pizza and Route 1 Country Store, where workers and customers came together to support power crews.

"They just walked in and gave me a $100 bill or whatever and said, here, use this toward the linemen meals," Route 1 Country Store owner Mark Webb said about his customers' generosity. "We're thankful we have a generator and realized we were one of the few people that were open and wanted to provide the service for the folks that didn't have electricity and also for all the workers out there as well."

Lisa Robertson, who manages Tractor Supply Co., said she knew her business would become essential when their community lost power.

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Even though the store also lost power, Robertson knew it was important to stay open.

"It's what the community needed," she said. "The customer still needs supplies and the supplies they need, we have."

Every transaction was done by hand and recorded on three legal pads.

"They were running around literally with small handheld flashlights, or flashlights on their phones, trying to help customers," Carrie Emerson, who shopped in the dark, said.

"I think it was a good thing, a lot of people in the area had no power and they needed a lot of things, chainsaw blades, chainsaw oil, kerosene, propane," shopper Calvin Adkins added.

Nearly two weeks after the ice storm struck, the community still helping linemen and each other.

"I think it just says a lot about our community, about Dinwiddie as a whole," Whitney Bishop said. "Everyone keeps saying, we're all in this together, but it's really the truth, everyone wants to step up and help and do what they can, so think it says a lot about the county."