Standoff at The Ridge, Walmart puts a hurting on businesses' bottom lines

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More than a dozen stores including Walmart and Market Basket took saw a loss; inset, standoff suspect Christopher Thomas (Courtesy photo; inset, Rochester Police photo)

ROCHESTER - While a Rochester transient remained holed up in the woods during a 22-hour standoff with police, Walmart and businesses at the nearby Ridge Marketplace that were forced to close could do little but wait and watch as their bottom lines took a hit.

Many of the corporate giants like Walmart and Market Basket refused to give any details regarding how the standoff may have impacted their bottom line, but those that did agreed that their profits were down on Sunday by some 15-20 percent.

Christopher Thomas, 27, surrendered without incident on Monday around 10:20 a.m. He is charged with felony reckless conduct and had numerous other arrest warrants.

See story in Top Story section for details on his Tuesday arraignment.

With most store officials reluctant to talk about the bottom line it's difficult to quantify exact losses, but collectively it's sure to be in the tens of thousands of dollars if not more.

110 Grill General Manager Natalie Holiday said it was especially disappointing for her staff as on Sunday they were serving free appetizers to veterans in observance of Veterans Day and with Monday being a holiday, everybody was looking forward to a brisk Sunday evening.

"We definitely felt it," said Holiday, who was told by officers around 5 p.m. they had to immediately evacuate the restaurant.

Holiday said her staff were in shock and disbelief when they were told they had to leave.

"They were shocked. They didn't want to leave," she said. "And they wanted to clean up."

But police said immediately and they left, hoping maybe the standoff would be resolved early in the evening and they'd be able to come back and do some cleaning. That didn't work, either.

"When everyone got home we watched the news and saw that wasn't going to happen," she said.

She said they then hoped they'd be able to get in early Monday morning to clean and prep for the lunch crowd, but there weren't allowed back till almost 11 a.m.

Luckily, many 110 Grill employees came in on their day off to help out cleaning up, so they were able to open at noon, just a half hour late.

"We had an army in here working to get ready for noon," Holiday said.

Meanwhile, at Petco, Assistant Manager Jessica Landau said Sunday sales ended up being about 15 percent off, but they were able to mitigate their losses by shifting some of their grooming appointments to the Dover store.

She said on Monday she was calling Rochester Police every half hour to see if they could open and got the "all clear" around 11 a.m.

She said Sunday sales were unaffected.

The New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet at The Ridge saw sales dip only minimally, according to E.J. Powers of Montaigne Communications, which handles media inquiries for the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. The store closes at 6 p.m. on Sunday, so they would have only lost an hour of sales time.

The store reopened on Monday around 11 a.m., he said.

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