MIDWEST CITY — On Day 3 of the government shutdown, the ripple effects were being felt at businesses outside of Tinker Air Force Base.
The base is the largest federal employer in Oklahoma, and 2,900 of its civilian workers are on furlough until federal funding continues.
Steven Hosford, who owns 15th Street Grill near Tinker, said Thursday his business has decreased significantly in the past few days.
The restaurant depends on the lunch crowd from the base, and without those diners the business struggles.
“Our business is mostly Tinker employees, and when they can't work, everyone is affected by that,” he said.
Hosford said when Tinker employees were furloughed during the summer his business was cut in half. As a result, he had to lay off four employees he could no longer afford to pay.
Now working with a “bare bones” staff, he said he doesn't know how else to deal with a decrease in business.
“There's not much you can do,” he said.
Alan King, who works at Akropolis Greek Restaurant, said he has seen the same decline in business this week.
Normal business would be about $500 during lunch hours, but that has gone down to less than $300.
King said when business declined in the summer he had his hours cut, which means cutting back on expenses. That's difficult for King, who has four children.
“Times are tough, man,” he said.
And the furloughs are affecting more than just the food industry in the area.
Robyn Thompson, the manager of a cash loans store on SE 29, said when Tinker employees don't get their paychecks they can't make payments on their loans.
Although she hasn't run into any problems yet, she expects the missed payments to begin soon.
“We try to work with them the best we can,” she said. “But when something like this happens it affects us directly. It's tough on business.”
Hosford said he can't understand why representatives haven't been able to come to a compromise.
“I think there are a lot of better things they could be doing than arguing over health care and shutting down the government,” he said.