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Effects from shutdown felt by small business owners in Augusta

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When Maninder Singh looks out the window of his Beech Island convenience store each morning, he sees the dwindling traffic since the federal government shutdown.

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Manis Mart owner Maninder Singh said about 50 percent of his customer base is made up of Savannah River Site workers. Since the shutdown, he's seen at least a 20 percent drop in business from customers who stop at his store to buy gas, coffee, food, etc, on their way to and from work.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Manis Mart owner Maninder Singh said about 50 percent of his customer base is made up of Savannah River Site workers. Since the shutdown, he's seen at least a 20 percent drop in business from customers who stop at his store to buy gas, coffee, food, etc, on their way to and from work.

“Normally this road is very busy in the morning from 4 o’clock until 5:30 or 6 o’clock,” Singh said, motioning toward Sand Bar Ferry Road, a thoroughfare for many Savannah River Site commuters. “It’s hard for you to make a turn out, and that same thing happened in the evening from 4 to 6. (Now) it gets slower and slower day by day.”

Workers at SRS have been among the hardest hit by the partial U.S. government shutdown, which entered its 14th day Monday. On Oct. 3, the liquid waste contractor Savannah River Remediation furloughed about 1,400 workers, and announcements were made last week that the site’s security contractor, Wackenhut Services Inc., furloughed 270 workers.

The economic hardships also have trickled down progressively to small businesses that cater to the SRS workforce.

For seven years, Singh’s Manis Mart has been a popular spot for SRS workers stopping by in the mornings to fill up on gas, buy a cup of coffee or grab a quick breakfast item to go. In the evenings, Singh rings up beer and liquor purchases, lottery tickets and other sales.

He has watched business slide by at least 20 percent since Oct. 1.

“It’s everywhere,” Singh said. “It’s not only my store. It’s the same thing for everybody.”

Customer morale and sales aren’t much better at Flowers Cafe in New Ellenton, a small Aiken County town whose economic fortunes are intertwined with SRS.

Owner Paulette Flowers opened the restaurant just five months ago to a crowd that travels from nearby SRS on their lunch break.

Three weeks ago, Flowers said, she averaged about 60 diners. As of last week, that number had dropped to 15 customers.

“There was such a need for it when we opened,” Flowers said. “From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. we hardly got a breather, and now it’s just like they drizzle in and out. If they lay off another 5,000, we’re probably going to have to close the doors.”

The blow to business is the same for several establishments in New Ellenton’s downtown district, said Flowers, adding that SRS is the backbone for other nearby communities such as North Augusta and Jackson.

“When you think about the impact to Fort Gordon and the Savannah River Site, those are major installations here,” said Bill Thompson, the executive vice president of Queensborough National Bank & Trust Co. “It naturally affects our economy is a less than positive way.” Loan activity at the metro Augusta branches has slowed, though Thompson said he was unable to determine how much without doing extensive research.

Additionally, any loans applied for through the Small Business Administration will remain on hold until the shutdown is remedied and offices reopen. Thompson said his bank typically processes about five small-business loans each month.

For other local operations, the long-term effects to arise from the shutdown are frustrating and will likely prove to be time-consuming.

At an employment agency such as Augusta Staffing Associates, the problem encountered is twofold. Because of shutdown closures, temp-to-hire employees without a Social Security card are unable to obtain one, and E-Verify, an Internet-based system that determines employees’ work eligibility, is down.

More than 100 files are backlogged at the agency, leaving the unemployed seeking temporary jobs in call centers and manufacturing plants out of work, said staffing specialist Robert Kelly.

After a resolution is finally made to the budget crisis, going back and updating files will take some time, he said.

“It’s clogging up some processes in house,” Kelly said. “They’re piling work on us.”

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wildman
1110
Points
wildman 10/15/13 - 04:53 am
9
8
Thank you President Obama

As the leader of the great nation you are responsible for these problems. I will agree that every elected official has some responsibility but you are the leader. Step up and be that leader. Put the government back to work, stop the petty crap in DC that is driving our great nation to ruin. Americans expect better from you and other elected officials. The problem is that you folks in DC forget who you work for. As a tax paying citizen I demand better! Get off your high horse and do the right thing!

MTBer
591
Points
MTBer 10/15/13 - 06:35 am
8
8
Pathetic

He is not the Commander in Chief. He is the Divider in Chief. A divisive, pathetic excuse of a leader. He knows not how to lead. Never has.

LuvMyTown
2009
Points
LuvMyTown 10/15/13 - 07:38 am
9
9
soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 10/15/13 - 09:45 am
0
0
Service industry vs. manufacturing produces nothing. Services
Unpublished

were once untaxed for that reason. Nothing tangible is produced. Government jobs simply reroute tax collection back to the taxpayers in a continuous cycle of dwindling flow. It takes one hundred dollars for the government to process one dollar. A loosing battle to say the least.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 10/15/13 - 09:47 am
0
0
The goverment teat provides a static economy. Private industry
Unpublished

provides a dynamic economy. America did become a financial dynamo by providing service jobs.

OJP
6592
Points
OJP 10/15/13 - 09:49 am
6
9
@wildman and MTBer

LuvMyTown is right. It was Senator Ted Cruz (Tea Party) who almost single-handedly forced this government shutdown. Only one side has had members that are absolutely giddy that this has taken place, and it's not the Democrats.

The Tea Party, the House GOP, and Senator Ted Cruz are where your ire should be directed. They are the cause of this.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 10/15/13 - 09:49 am
0
0
But if your whole life has been sucking the STATE teat, whatelse
Unpublished

do you know. Your source of life is a sham. A series of smoke and mirrors. The "pea and shell game".

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 10/15/13 - 09:51 am
0
0
The REAL "reality show" is beginning. And it is not entertaining
Unpublished

Worthless paper money. Indebted beyond reason. No ability to pay those debts.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 10/15/13 - 09:52 am
0
0
ICELAND went backrupt. They survived. They all WORK!!!!!!!
Unpublished

ICELAND went bankrupt. They survived. They all WORK!!!!!!!

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 10/15/13 - 09:53 am
0
0
NORWAY has cradle to grave benefits. THEY ALL WORK!!!!!!
Unpublished

NORWAY has cradle to grave benefits. THEY ALL WORK!!!!!!

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 10/15/13 - 09:54 am
0
0
NORWAY has a level playing field. They do not have SPECTATORS!!
Unpublished

NORWAY has a level playing field. They do not have SPECTATORS!

Dixieman
14941
Points
Dixieman 10/15/13 - 10:43 am
3
3
Cloudy and wet

Customers don't "drizzle in and out". They might "dribble" in and out. Wake up editors!

Little Lamb
45817
Points
Little Lamb 10/15/13 - 10:50 am
2
3
Bright Side

Just one time, as a bow to "fair and balanced" journalism, I wish the Chronicle would publish a story about that person who is benefitting from the partial shutdown. Instead, all we get are the purported hardships.

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 10/15/13 - 12:10 pm
0
0
The Authoress of this article needs to learn about
Unpublished

spell check on her puter!!!!!!!

Yep: The word is DRIBBLE, NOT "drizzle."

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 10/15/13 - 12:13 pm
0
0
And, since ANY Immigrant to the USA does NOT pay TAXES
Unpublished

for the first five or seven years they are here, what's he complaining about? He'll just "sell," the business to some relative, thereby starting the five or seven year "NO Income Tax due - clock over again.

LillyfromtheMills
13204
Points
LillyfromtheMills 10/15/13 - 12:22 pm
6
6
Watch the movie 2016

Obama's master plan is working right on schedule, he wanted the US on its knees - it's working.

Sweet son
10323
Points
Sweet son 10/15/13 - 12:42 pm
5
5
Wouldn't you love it if Air Force One wouldn't start because of

the shutdowns but the almighty will of course not allow any of his own play toys to be shutdown.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 10/15/13 - 12:59 pm
3
6
OJP...why do you blame the
Unpublished

OJP...why do you blame the party that has passed numerous spending bills, but not the party that refuses to even negotiate or listen?

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/10/15/house-gop-floats-plan-to-addr...

jimmymac
39070
Points
jimmymac 10/15/13 - 06:11 pm
0
0
slim down
Unpublished

You haven't seen anything yet folks. The layoffs at SRS and SRR are just beginning. Obama hates everything about the South and employing people down here is a very low priority for him and his ilk.

welbow
27400
Points
welbow 10/15/13 - 09:32 pm
1
0
@HA While I have not been

@HA

While I have not been keeping up with comments on here as much as I usually have (and just started posting actually - let's hope this isn't the precipice of a black hole..), I have not seen any conservatives respond to the data showing that the Democrat senators have tried fourteen times to call a budget conference, and fourteen times, been blocked by Senate Republicans. What is the response to this?

Also, John Boehner is on record having made a deal with Harry Reid to pass a budget at post-sequester levels. Do you think he reneged on that? If so, do you approve?

Parties, ideologies and other considerations aside, it is not a good thing to allow a vocal minority (the Tea party in this instance, but not limited to conservatives) in just one of the three branches of government the ability to shut things down in a manner that is so dangerous to the country as a whole. Rand Paul aside, what matters in the debt ceiling debacle is the *perception* of our economy. If others (people, companies, countries even) don't *think* we can pay our bills, they will act on that notion alone. Consider how many businesses have made changes (layoffs, outsourcing, reduction of hours) based on what they *think* Obamacare will do (University Hospital, anyone?).

I have not seen any conservatives on here even comment about the House Rules committee rule change that happened on 30 September that, in essence, limits the ability to call a clean CR to the floor to John Boehner and Eric Cantor. What is the response to this? To me, this goes against the goals of a democratic government.

Many conservatives have said that it was foolish for the House to "make a stand" over Obamacare because the Senate and Obama would never pass a repeal, but they did it anyway. Gallup (a pretty conservative poll) even admits that favorability ratings are down to the lowest since 1999:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/165317/republican-party-favorability-sinks-re...

Based on these things, I do think that the Republicans caused this, and I think they will have to end this. That said, I do think that the actions of Obama and the other Democrats can (and do) alter the outcome. Let's face it, the Republicans have to save face over this or their party is doomed - and do we really want just the Democrats to run this country? Regardless of which party, I do not think it healthy to have just one. We must have the normal give and take of different people coming together and jointly creating solutions to the problems we face.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 10/16/13 - 06:51 am
1
0
welbow, the reason is because
Unpublished

welbow, the reason is because the budget conference is always contingent on discussing a budget that is 100% what the Democrats want, with no compromise. Why do the liberals not want to discuss that the Republicans have sent SEVERAL bills to the senate only to have Reid refuse to even vote on them?

How do you want the Republicans to end it? It seems the only way is to do 100% what the Democrats want with no compromise. Is that the way government is supposed to work?

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