As conditions rapidly deteriorated in Washington, D.C., on Monday due to Hurricane Sandy, there appeared to be little rhyme or reason dictating which businesses stayed open and which ones closed. Several large national chains still had stores open on Monday afternoon, including some that sell non-essential items. Like other cities affected by the storm, Washington, D.C., canceled public transportation starting late Sunday night, placing workers who didn't own cars in a precarious position.
Subway sandwich shops across Washington remained open as of 1:30 p.m., including its shops downtown, an area of the city that was devoid of people following the federal government's decision to close. One worker, who said she did not own a car, said she was not aware of any plans to close the store. The woman gave a worried smile and shrugged when considering how she would return home after her shift. A call placed to the Subway headquarters was met with a message warning of possible staff shortages at the Milford, Conn., office due to Sandy, and a message left for the media relations team was not immediately answered.
Elsewhere in Washington, McDonald's restaurants were also open after midday on Monday. A message left with McDonald's media relations was not immediately returned. Sustained winds of 25-35 mph were reported at 1:15 p.m. in Washington, and expected to increase over the course of the afternoon.
Other businesses open at noon included Modell's Sporting Goods, a Starbucks location in Adams Morgan, Good Guys Club, a strip club in Glover Park, and numerous national supermarket chains.
A call from the Huffington Post to corporate media relations at Modell's Sporting Goods was not immediately returned Monday. The Good Guys Club's voicemail message, recorded earlier in the day Monday, detailed which dancers would be working the day shift and which would be working that night. It also encouraged callers to stay safe during the hurricane. A voicemail left for Good Guys by HuffPost was not returned at press time.
A spokeswoman for Starbucks was unable to confirm whether the Adams Morgan store was still open at 4 p.m., but said that "as of 4 p.m. Eastern [time], we have 1,000 stores closed between Virginia and Maine. The safety of our partners and customers is our top priority, and we continue to work with local authorities to monitor conditions on a case-by-case basis."
On M Street, N.W., in Georgetown, an elegant shopping strip, most of the upscale stores were closed as of noon on Monday. Some, like the Steve Madden boutique, were even boarded up with plywood to protect the windows. But next door to Steve Madden, the Urban Outfitters was open for business, and a handful of employees were making stocking decisions inside, despite the fact that M Street was largely deserted. An email requesting comment was sent to a media relations officer of the Philadelphia-based company, but was not immediately returned.
Another unlikely business open during the storm was Georgetown Cupcake, the store made famous by the popular TLC show "DC Cupcakes." Workers were still making cupcakes at noon, but a call placed to the store at 2:45 p.m. (when it was arguably no longer safe to drive around the city) received no answer, so the store may have closed.
This was not the case for the DC dining institution Ben's Chili Bowl, which was open as of 3 p.m., just hours before Sandy was expected to make landfall in Southern New Jersey with sustained winds above 90 mph. A worker reached by phone at Ben's said she was unsure if the restaurant would close and that she didn't own a car, but said employees live nearby.
Alexis Kleinman contributed to this story.
CLICK on the slideshow to see other businesses in Washington D.C. that remained open through midday on Monday.