Business as usual, but not much of it for a pair of Germantown Avenue stores

At 9 a.m. on a Monday morning, you’d typically expect to find the Trolley Car Diner in Mt. Airy full of patrons tucking into their coffee, bagels and omelets. Not today, however.

” Oh, yeah, It’s been extremely slow,” said diner hostess Loretta Lindquist as she surveyed a nearly-empty front room by the counter. “But we’ll stay open until they tell us otherwise – or until we lose electricity.”

The morning “crowd” consisted of a handful of hardy patrons undeterred by driving rain and gusty winds as Hurricane Sandy moved into the area. And as you might expect from folks who weren’t nervous about venturing out into the much-hyped storm, they were all pretty calm about what was happening and what might lie ahead.

In the case of Gerry and Lori Thorell of Chestnut Hill, some of that calm came from precautions that Mayor Nutter and others have been urging Delaware Valley to take for days.

“I got up on the roof and cleared out the gutters,” said Gerry, while

“We rolled up the rugs in the basement because we’ve had issues with water there in the past,”said Lori.

The pair had also stocked up on food and emergency water over the weekend and felt they were as prepared as they could be, though Gerry added, “You never know exactly what to expect.”

Also in the “we’re prepared” category were John and Lucy Tuton of Mt. Airy.

“The first thing, we checked all the branches of the trees around the house, then we filled a bathtub with water just in case,” said John.

With plenty of candles and batteries stockpiled, he added with a smile that ” if the power goes out, we’re looking forward to a romantic evening.”

The Tutons were able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast because they’d had plenty of warning that they wouldn’t be at work that day, further evidence that the area was taking storm warnings seriously.

“We work at Penn,” said Lucy, “and Penn almost never closes. When it does you find out that morning. This time it closed Sunday, two days in advance, and that never happens.”

Dr. Aran Arumugarajah had just finished a 24-hour shift at Chestnut Hill Hospital, where he’s a resident physician. He said he’d learned a lesson from the area’s last brush with a big storm.

“When Hurricane Irene hit last year I wasn’t prepared, I didn’t get a flashlight until it was all over,” he said.

Now he’s ready – “all stocked up on food,” he said – but his worry this morning was getting home. “I live off City Line Avenue and with Lincoln Drive closed I’m not sure how I’m going to get there.”

Unlike Penn, Chestnut Hill Hospital won’t be closing because of the storm, he said.

“There’s going to be house staff there. What they have asked us to do is stay over at the hospital if it’s not safe to travel.”

In the “sort of ready” category were Germantown residents Jeremiah McCormick and Chelsea Newton.

” We have a ton of candles left over from the last storm,’ said McCormick, but after they finished breakfast they were off to the grocery store to stock up on food.

“As long as we stay dry and can get something to eat we’ll be OK,” he said.

At the WaWa at Allens Lane and Germantown Avenue this morning, it was more of the same: business as usual, just not much of it.

Acording to shift manager Jessica Emry, “It’s been slow this morning, but nobody’s gotten crazy. I still have some eggs, bread, milk, stuff like that on the shelves. We’ll be open until further notice.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.