Paychecks for furloughed employees and businesses

Dustin Orrell of Fresno has worked for the IRS for the past 15 years. When he was furloughed he didn't think it would last this long.
October 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hector Parra waited an hour before seeing his next customer come into his business, Yogurt Etc. It's close 5 p.m. in Downtown Fresno and after the customer paid for a cup of frozen yogurt, Parra is again left to his empty shop. He says that's just the way business is, ever since federal employees were furloughed.

"This never happened before," Parra said. "Every four or five minutes we got somebody coming in and now we can go up to an hour to see somebody coming through these doors. It's hurting business a lot."

Yogurt Etc. is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop, with a lunch and dinner menu. It's been open in downtown a few months, and until October business was good. But it's slowed down so much, Parra says he had to let go of two full-time employees and one part-time employee.

"Once business starts picking up, we'll start bringing them back," he said.

Several downtown shops and restaurants saw a dip in business the past 16 days. Kevin Lindholm at Teazer World Tea Market says IRS employees made up at least 20 percent of his customers. Those customers were furloughed. Lindholm says bsuinesses isnt hurting too bad, but he has noticed more downtime.

"Especially during the night - when the IRS goes really late and everything else is closed," Lindholm said. "We haven't seen any of those customers."

Teazer is located at the Galleria Civic Center Square in downtown. Many of his neighbors are restaurants that close early and rely mostly on the lunchtime rush. Lindholm says he'd like to see the regulars back and ordering from their menus.

Dustin Orrell of Fresno has worked for the IRS for the past 15 years. When he was furloughed along with hundreds of thousands of others around the country, he didn't think it would take as long as it has to be brought back to work.

He was called back into the office earlier than most. He was asked to return Tuesday, but many of his colleagues were not.

"I know there are a few people in other units, just from wandering around and looking. But for the most part, it's just a big empty building," Orrell said.

It's not expected to stay that way for long. Orrell says it's good to get back into the swing of things.

"I was getting kind of bored. Plus I was wondering where money for the rent is going to come from," he said.

Orrell had enough money saved up to pay the bills, and furloughed employees are expecting back pay for the time missed.

Many of the business hope they can get back to normal spending sooner, rather than later.

"Once they come back, I hope everything gets back to normal and we start making money again," Parra said.


Load Comments