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Commerce officials worry about sequestration impact

By Kyle Horan
Published On: Feb 25 2013 05:51:08 PM CST
HAVELOCK -

Local business owners and commerce officials are worried about sequestration and what effect possible furloughs will have on business.

The automatic cuts set to hit Friday, March 1, would force 800,000 civilian workers to take one day of leave per week without pay.

Locally, several thousand on-base employees at Cherry Point Air Station would take the pay cuts that amount to about 20% of their income over a period up to 22 weeks.

Havelock chamber of commerce director, Stephanie Duncan, said the loss of that money could be negative for business.

"People are going to have to choose what to spend their money on," Duncan said. "are they going to pay their mortgage, are they going to pay their water bill."

One business in the area could soon be up for sale. In anticipation of the sequester, George Aswad said he might have to sell Crabby Patty's. The seafood restaurant is popular in Havelock.

"I think it's really going to hurt us," said Aswad. "We've got a tremendous amount invested in the town, business has been great, but a lot of our business is locals."

Crabby Patty's isn't the only business. Manager for Holiday Inn Express in Havelock, Cindy King, said she's already seen a 10% decrease in business in January and February from last year.

"I am concerned because anytime that we shrink our military, then we shrink what's going to be here in this area," King said.

King said reservations are down because less contractors are doing work at Cherry Point. Fewer contractors mean fewer rooms being used.

"We could not bring a ford plant into our community that makes F-150s and it would not make a dent in what FRC does for us," Duncan said.