FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – The domino effect of the partial government shutdown has hit small businesses in North Texas. It is cutting into profits and canceling plans that, in some cases, have been in place for years.
Federal workers who are not getting paid are now not spending money. And the federal applications required for some businesses are not being reviewed.
One of those applications is from Armadillo Ale Works in Denton. Somewhere inside the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, their application to build a new craft brewery is waiting for review and approval. Co-founder Yianni Arestis was about to sign a lease on a building and invest in brewing equipment. But then, everything stopped. “We’re lucky in the respect that we didn’t sign a lease, we didn’t order our equipment,” he said, “because there’s a lot of breweries that have and they’re stuck in purgatory. They’re stuck in the middle.”
Armadillo Ale Works still has its product in stores. Arestis and chief brewer Bobby Mullins were handing out samples Wednesday night at a Plano bar, to keep building their fan base. The light at the end of the tunnel, however, their own brewery in Denton, is just going to have to wait.
Their meetings with the Small Business Administration are on hold, too. Arestis is now starting to look for new accredited private investors, as a Plan B, in case the shutdown lingers.
Meanwhile, in Roanoke, stylists at the KTS Hair Studio had heard clients with government jobs talk in September about possibly having to cancel their future appointments. This week, the phone calls and text messages started coming. “Okay, maybe it’s just this one time,” Kelly Carrasco said she thought after the first one. “Then, it’s like three people one day. Next day it’s two people.”
Some clients are on furlough. Others are essential employees still working, but not getting paid. Right before the busy holiday season in the styling industry though, those are appointments that likely will not be rescheduled, and money that will not be made up.
Small business expert Michael Houlihan said that he did not believe small businesses were aware that the shutdown could have such a big impact on them. And even if it ends soon, he explained, he believes that a precedent has been set to use a shutdown as an option in future political stalemates.
North Texas federal workers are taking to the streets on Thursday to protest the partial government shutdown. Employees staged a rally in downtown Dallas outside of the offices of the American Federation of Government Employees – Local 1003. The group said that the federal government is the largest single employer in Dallas, and those workers want to get back to their jobs.
Similar protests were held in Dallas last week.
Jeanne Schulze works for the Environmental Protection Agency in Dallas and is president of the worker union. “We’d like to put a face to the federal shutdown,” she explained. “We also want to point out that federal employees themselves are the collateral damage of the budget stalemate that’s taking place in Washington, D.C. We’re working class families. We have bills to pay. and there’s no promise of pay at this time for us.”
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