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Cold snap puts a chill on Minnesota businesses

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Even Minnesota businesses that depend on winter are suffering through a cold snap that has many state residents hunkered down indoors, the Star Tribune reports. Among them: several area ski slopes, which closed Monday due to dangerously low wind chills.

A number of stores simply closed up shop due to a lack of customers; pizza joints reported brisk delivery business – but no one dining in, the newspaper reports. Other business owners took to the Internet to draw people in; Cooks of Crocus Hill in St. Paul, Edina and Stillwater offered customers a 20 percent discount online or in store, to boost sales and "give people a break,” co-owner Marie Dwyer told the newspaper.

Cold snaps have their price. The last Polar Vortex-induced deep freeze – felt from the Midwest to the Southeast several days earlier this month – cost the nation about $5 billion as people stayed home from work and didn't venture out to spend money, the Associated Press reported. It was the biggest economic disruption due to weather since Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the AP reported.

And it's not over yet. Tuesday will be another day of mostly subzero temperatures around the state, with most schools closed, and families huddled indoors. KSTP reported that White Bear Lake schools are among the few that bucked the trend to close and fired up buses Tuesday morning. School officials on the district's Facebook page note that they are confident they can transport students to school safely.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency Monday, ordering Minnesota's adjutant general to activate any military personnel who might be needed to help stranded motorists, KSTP noted.

Dayton is also dealing with a propane shortage in the state that has many Minnesota homeowners conserving, worried about what they do if their heating source runs out.

In other news, Xcel Energy made progress Monday restoring its natural gas operations to normal levels after a Saturday pipeline explosion in Canada prompted the utility to urge customers to conserve gas, the Star Tribune reported.

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