Small businesses hurting from the gov’t shutdown


Each day the government shutdown costs the country hundreds of millions of dollars and it’s also costing small business owners here at home.

Since furloughed workers aren’t out spending money, Huntsville businesses aren’t seeing it. At the Old Town Beer Exchange in Huntsville business is down close to 40 percent.

“We never really realize how many of those people are our customers until they don’t come anymore,” said Co-owner Bill Fowler about furloughed workers.

On one of their busiest days of the week…

“Tuesday is $4 draft day so we’re usually packed,” said General Manager Courtney Nunley.

…Half the usual number of people walked through the door.

A chief economist with the S&P 500 reports that every week the direct and indirect costs of the shutdown add up to more than one billion dollars. The damage could cost more than the president’s proposed border wall.

Local workers are feeling it.

“We’re trying to keep our employees on payroll and coming in every day and working and it’s hard when the work isn’t there,” said Rachel Lackey, owner of Green Pea Press.

Lackey says her printing business is still in recovery mode from around the last time there was a government shutdown and that one only lasted a few days.

“The first quarter last year actually killed us. We never recovered from it,” she said. “Our profit was half of what it was the year before and that’s the first time that’s ever happened. Nobody ever goes back and buys the things they meant to buy during that time.”

“You can’t lose 50 percent of your business and not feel it and not have an effect,” said Fowler. “Our issue is that we don’t get any of this money back. There’s some back pay for some of the folks who aren’t here but we don’t have the opportunity to dig our way out for something like this and there are people who are really hurting so it’s a big deal.”

Businesses are offering deals to draw in more customers.

Because of the government shutdown the Small Business Administration isn’t open either. That means if a business needs a loan they can’t get it approved.

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