Metro Detroit businesses fight to survive one week after windstorm

Almost all of the DTE customers knocked offline in last week's storm have their power back. But not everyone. Some businesses say if they're in the dark any longer, they may be forced to close for good.

DTE says it has restored power to 796,000 customers in the seven days since last Wednesday's historic windstorm. That leaves about 4,000 still without power or heat. Some of those customers are businesses, like Endura Coatings in Sterling Heights. Michael Stechschulte is the managing director at the company and said if there's no solution soon, they may be in deep trouble.

"We've been around since 1970 - almost fifty years - we have over 30 employees and I have no way of staying in business if I can't find a solution immediately," Stechschulte said.

The location near the Ford Van Dyke Transmission PLant off 18 Mile and Van Dyke has been closed since power went out on Wednesday. On Tuesday, six days after the storm, he was at DTE headquarters pleading for help.

"I came down here because my employees need jobs, I need to ship to my customers, I have no other way of getting a solution other than being here in person," he said.

He's not the only one hurting. In Clawson, some stores in a strip mall on Main Street have lights but no heat.

R. Collective Salon is reverting to running hair dryers and space heaters that are plugged in to generators in the back.

"Business has suffered enough. We actually cancelled several days so the show must go on so we have to open today," owner Scott Raymaker said.

Next door at Pure Balance Massage, space heaters are in use but business has taken a hit.

"We only have two rooms currently operational so we have to run space heaters. It's definitely made a big impact," owner Elizabeth Parr said.

At Twyfit Fitness, in the same strip, there are no lights, no heat. But there are hardcore clients coming in to work out.

"It is very frustrating. My heart goes out to all these workers out there who are busting their butts and getting this stuff done but I need to be back in business," Michael Twydell said.

So the owners wait. In Sterling Heights, there was some good news for Stechschulte; DTE got the company back online which means it's time to get back to work.

"We're up and running now and we're going to call the employees in. Work around the clock and hopefully get back on track. We're very happy with DTE, very happy with FOX for going to bat for us in the lobby of their office building," Stechschulte said.


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