By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It might look like a Winter Wonderland outside, but rather than getting people into the Christmas shopping mood, the early bout of winter weather has really hurt small businesses.

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But this holiday shopping season was already shorter because of the late Thanksgiving, so fewer weekends for people to go out and do their holiday shopping, and then the past two weekends we saw snow and bad weather.

That’s been especially tough on independently-owned small businesses and towns like Skippack, with the types of small shops and restaurants that rely on foot traffic.

Justin Gambone, owner of Justin’s Carriage House, sums it up:

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“A disaster. I mean, Christmas parties cancelled, nobody out.  Even the bar business, nobody wants to have a drink and then go home because it’s either icy or slushy. It hurts. (You) can’t make it up.”

Floral and Hardy in Skippack after a snow storm. (Credit: Jim Melwert)

Floral and Hardy in Skippack after a snow storm. (Credit: Jim Melwert)

Lowell Steinberg owns a shop, “Floral and Hardy,” here in town. He says, “We had a merchant meeting on Thursday and the consensus is everyone is down from 2012 — considerably, actually. And we all realize it’s the weather. It’s not us, it’s not the shops. It’s simply the weather this year.”

Steinberg says Small Business Saturday was a huge success, and had everyone looking forward to a great holiday season. But those hopes were crushed by the weather. They’re hoping warm temperatures this weekend can draw some crowds out here for the final weekend before Christmas.

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