The prolonged lack of electricity has given many headaches to merchants and restaurateurs in Montreal, who are recording losses that can amount to thousands of dollars.

“I’m anxious, stressed, I haven’t slept since Wednesday,” laments Guillaume Vaillant, owner of the Guillaume bakery, located on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, near Laurier Avenue.

Reservations were made for the Easter long weekend when the storm hit on Wednesday. The business lost power as early as 5 p.m., and the outage lasted until 3 p.m. Friday. In the meantime, the refrigerators have warmed up. All the kneaded dough had to be thrown away, laments the baker. Losses amount to $15,000 “for raw materials,” he estimates. “And I’m not counting missed sales and labor. With that, I must be close to $25,000! »

Small consolation: the power came back just in time to save the contents of the freezer, which had reached -4°C. At least, that’s what the craftsman hopes. “I hope I haven’t lost my extra croissants, because that would be about a week of wasted production. »

At Les Givrés, which owns three dairy bars in the districts of Hochelaga, Vieux-Rosemont and Villeray, the losses are smaller, but the battle is not yet won.

Indeed, the place where the company manufactures its ice cream, on the Plateau Mont-Royal, had still not found electricity at the end of the day on Friday. “It’s been 48 hours,” said co-owner Alexandre Deslauriers on the phone. “Our freezer rooms are very well insulated, and with the mass of frozen products, you can see that they keep their cold. But [Saturday] morning, that’s going to be the limit, ”he says.

The Vieux-Rosemont and Villeray branches have already gone two days without electricity, so the contents of the refrigerators on site are lost, explains Mr. Deslauriers. “So far, we may have lost $3,000 per outlet,” he calculates. But if I lose the factory, I’m going to be in the $60,000 loss. »

It is not for lack of having wanted to install generators. The co-owners managed to get their hands on two machines, but the electrician who was supposed to install them failed them.

The adventure also makes you think about ways to be better prepared in the future. “But it’s complicated, we’re in Montreal, on the second floor, it’s a question of space too,” reflects Mr. Deslauriers.

For the vegan restaurant TULA, which has just opened its doors on boulevard Saint-Laurent, Mother Nature has chosen the wrong moment with this storm. “We had so many reservations that we had made a lot of set ups for Easter weekend dinners and dinners,” says owner Abhishek Arun.

As on the rest of Saint-Laurent Boulevard, the electricity vanished on Wednesday to return at the end of the morning two days later. The refrigerators had to be emptied. “It was really terrible, we threw away a lot of stock,” laments Mr. Arun.

The restaurant’s menu includes fresh produce, such as vegetables, tofu and coconut, he explains. “These are things that go bad quickly. If it was frozen it would have been ok, but we don’t freeze a lot here, we put things in the fridge. »

In the chaos, customers decided to cancel reservations, even if the electricity returned. Others have faced closed doors as owners have been unable to keep social media up to date as their electronics run out of power, Arun says. “It’s really sad, especially since we’ve only been open for a month. »

The question of compensation and better support from the government and the City comes up in the speech of the three traders.

“Me, the government is not going to give me a check”, denounces Guillaume Vaillant, referring to the tariff agreements between Hydro-Québec and certain companies. “But it’s us [small businesses] who create jobs, who pay taxes. Both Hydro-Quebec and the City of Montreal increased rates and property taxes. And they can’t maintain the trees? It’s completely incoherent,” he laments.