Several businesses in central Lubbock had to shut down for about five hours Thursday because of a gas leak at the corner of University and Glenna Goodacre.
Around 10:30 a.m., Atmos says a third party contract company accidentally severed a gas line while working on University Avenue. Natural gas filled the air for hours, causing safety concerns and prompting evacuations.
The timing couldn't have been worse for area restaurants, who depend on the lunch rush to boost sales.
Dion's Pizza off University was one of the many businesses forced to shut down during the leak. "There were just two customers that we had to tell sorry, but you have to go," Dion's day assistant manager Martin Mitchell said.
Mitchell says they typically get around 200 customers during their lunch rush, but with the mandatory shutdown they lost more than a thousand dollars in sales.
"It was pretty big. Any given day for us, we expect to make about $1,600 during our day rush. We didn't even do a fraction of that, so it was pretty painful," Mitchell said.
Chipotle also lost several hundred dollars because of the gas leak, and workers at Papa John's Pizza say they went to other locations to work during the evacuations.
Business owners say that even after the fire department allowed them to open back up around 4 p.m., business was still slow because lanes were shut down on University.
Businesses and patrons both suffer in situations like this. After a day like this one, local business owners can only hope for surging sales the rest of the week.
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