How to prepare your retail store for extreme weather

Posted in Business

A store manager in a plaid shirt stands in a retail store and reads from the tablet in her hand.

Climate change is shifting global weather as we know it. It’s disrupting familiar weather cycles and creating extreme weather events in nearly every region. Where you’re located, temperatures could be hotter than ever in the summertime and record-breaking cold in winter.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says, “scientific studies indicate that extreme weather events such as heat waves and large storms are likely to become more frequent or more intense with human-induced climate change.

As a business owner, you know extreme weather can be a problem for your retail store(s). The good news is, there are simple steps you can take to make a positive impact on your prep. Follow this basic inclement weather plan for your business:

1. Create and distribute policies 

It’s important to have plans in place to prepare employees for severe weather. To successfully establish expectations of what to do leading up to (or during) a severe weather event, make a business policy. This could look like: 

Make sure your policy outlines rules and procedures clearly to avoid confusion during a weather event. For example, you don’t want to have an employee drive through heavy rain and flooding streets to get to work only to find the store is closed.

It’s also important to write your inclement weather plans for each individual store location. For instance, one store might be in a lake effect snow area, while another store 30 miles away is not. The store in the lake effect snow path would need procedures and expectations catered to the possibility of heavier snowfall.

For more help with business continuity planning, contact your Grange Independent Agent and ask about our Risk Control Consulting services.

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2. Map out store plans 

Now that you have policies in place, it’s time to figure out specific store plans for extreme weather. These plans can detail what tasks each job role is responsible for. This may include: 

  • Store managers will review the inclement weather policy with employees at the beginning of the day.
  • Associates will help position safety equipment for the store, such as extra floor mats near the entrance and wet floor signs where needed. Sprinkling salt to melt ice along the sidewalks may also be necessary.
  • All team members will review the safety plans in place for inclement weather during store hours and note what types of scenarios will call for store closing.

Store plans get into the details about store management and planning. There may also be training involved to prepare for certain situations, like weather that causes business interruptions.

3. Prepare based on your location

You can’t create a successful store plan or inclement weather plan for your business without taking your region into consideration. Consider the types of natural disasters and severe weather that typically occur near your store(s).

Along the East coast and near the Gulf of Mexico, you might be used to heavy rainfall, high winds and hurricanes. In the Midwest, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and large winter storms are common. In the West, earthquakes, landslides and wildfires can occur.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers emergency preparedness and response tips for natural disasters. These resources can help you prepare.

4. Review your insurance policy

If you have questions or concerns about your business insurance coverage, work with your agent to review your insurance policy. During the review, ask about different hypothetical scenarios where you may incur a business loss. Your agent can help you understand what is and isn’t covered in your business insurance policy.

How to file a business insurance claim

If your store is hit by extreme weather or another natural disaster, you’ll need to file a commercial insurance claim, also known as a business insurance claim. To file a claim with Grange, it’s as easy as visiting this page for assistance. 

Ask your Grange Independent Agent today about insurance for loss of income and other resources for protecting your retail store from inclement weather.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)   


Coverages described herein may not be available in all states. Please contact a local independent Grange agent for complete details on coverages and discounts. If the policy coverage descriptions herein conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies. The material provided above is for informational, educational, or suggestion purposes and does not imply coverage. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO QUOTE ANY INDIVIDUAL PREMIUM RATE FOR THE INSURANCE HEREIN ADVERTISED. Grange Insurance policies are underwritten by Grange Insurance Company, Trustgard Insurance Company, Grange Indemnity Insurance Company, Grange Insurance Company of Michigan and Grange Property & Casualty Insurance Company*. Not all companies are licensed in all states. *Not licensed in Pennsylvania.

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