Gov't Shutdown Causes Local Businesses to Suffer

As the federal shutdown continues, several businesses in Philadelphia’s historic district are already feeling the impact.

“We are seeing a dramatic drop in business,” said David Jolles, owner of Grande Old Cheesesteaks, located near the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, which were closed due to the shutdown. “Around 60% is what it’s been for the past few days.”

“We haven’t had too many people in the store at all,” said Renee Kasprzak, who works at the Making History Shop at the Bourse. “Sales have been down.”

With the federal shutdown still in place, many of the owners are now questioning whether layoffs are a possibility.

“It will get to that point in about another week or so if it continues,” Jolles said. “Right now I’m trying to keep everything as it is because I don’t want to do that to the staff. They work very hard here.”

Around 800,000 federal workers were furloughed on October 1 at midnight when the government partially shut down. Federal workers in our area say they no longer have money to spend on businesses they normally support.

“On a typical day we usually do breakfast,” said Cheryl Brown who works at the Social Security Administration. “We have coffee and we have lunch.”

“I spend about $40 a week,” said Jan Nation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Not only are the furloughed federal workers no longer spending money at businesses near the closed sites, they’re also unable to spend money in their own neighborhoods.

“It’s affecting the restaurants and the food places,” said Janine Gourdine of the Social Security Administration.

Lyn Kirshenbaum of the Department of Housing & Urban Development says she had to hold a yard sale to raise money for her daughter’s class field trip.

“Today I canceled the appointment with the veterinarian for my cat,” she said. “I canceled my hair appointment.”

Paul Disalvatore says he still has to report to his job at the Federal Bureau of Prisons despite no pay.

“Typically I treat myself and my family to dinners on a Friday and things of that nature,” he said. “But we’re not going out now.”

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