By the middle of last week, temperatures were back in the low 50s and the large drifts of snow that were scattered around the city melted as rain began to fall, but as far as local business owners were concerned, the damage has already been done.
All along the East Coast, Santa's helpers, the merchants, lost out. Instead of gleefully restocking shelves, many were stuck shoveling sidewalks.
According to meteorologists, last weekend's nor'easter was the biggest blizzard on record for early December. Hoboken's 14 inches was more than half of its 22.4-inch average for the winter, and the official start of winter is still a week and a half off.
From Maryland to Maine, sporting events were postponed, air travel was delayed, early Christmas shopping was interrupted, and millions of residents reintroduced themselves to the concept of shoveling far earlier than they were expecting.
The whiteout was bad news for some retailers who might have had one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.
"It was a killer for us," said Neeta King, the owner the Washington Street home furnishing store Aaraa. "It wasn't even like a normal weekend, let alone a weekend during the holiday season. We hope we can make it up, but honestly we're a little worried."
Resident Stephanie Isele, 33, of Garden Street, said that she stayed home and watched the Home Shopping Network instead of braving the weather. "It was a great day to stay home and under the blankets," said Isele.
Both the Home Shopping Network and on-line retailers saw a huge uptick in sales last weekend. The Home Shopping Network reported $30 million in sales on Saturday Dec. 6, which was $14 million more than their second biggest day ever.
But even as most local retailers admit sales were down, Hoboken merchants polled were divided on the long-term impact of the storm.
"Sure it was slower than what you would normally expect [for a holiday weekend], but there were still a lot of people out walking," said Brian Battaglia, the owner of Battaglia's Home Furnishings and Battaglia's Housewares and Gifts. He added that malls, which are only accessible by car, were hurt more by the storm.
Betty Cantor, 42, backed up Battaglia's statement.
"We were supposed to go visit family in Cape May," said Cantor Monday afternoon. "But we were stuck at home, snowed in. By Sunday morning we were stir-crazy, and had to get out of the house."
She added that she and her husband went shopping at Barnes and Noble on Washington Street and spent over $100 on gifts Sunday.
Battaglia added that the last-minute tendencies of Hoboken shoppers will also go a long way to mitigate the blizzard's impact on the city's merchants.
"There's still plenty of time left [in the season], especially for a town like Hoboken where people have traditionally been known for their last minute shopping habits," said Battaglia.
In fact, according to government numbers, the busiest buying period is the last week before Christmas, which accounted for some 40 percent of sales a year ago.
And business wasn't slow for everyone; hardware stores like ACE City Hardware reported a run on shovels and sidewalk salt, which is an unexpected boon for this early in the year.
In an effort to attract shoppers to Washington Street, the Chamber of Commerce is offering four hours of free parking with vouchers every Saturday and Sunday from now until Dec. 21 between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hoboken Utility Parking Garage B at Second Street between Hudson and River streets.
In addition to the free parking, there will be a free shopper shuttle up and down Washington Street every weekend leading up to Christmas. Shoppers can catch the shuttle between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hoboken Utility parking garages at Hudson Street between Second and Third streets and the Midtown Garage on the corner of Fourth and Clinton streets.
Vouchers for the free parking will be available at any of the participating merchants. For a complete list, visit www.hobokennj.com.