The across-the-board federal spending cuts taking effect Friday are already impacting some McLean businesses, and other business owners are keeping their fingers crossed.
McLean residents are thinking twice about major purchases, are using dry cleaning services less already and may be eating out less in the coming weeks, according to McLean business owners.
The cuts—known as the sequester—are expected to bring furloughs and job losses, and impact everything from educators to dog-walkers to air traffic controllers. A George Mason University sequestration study found up to 207,000 jobs could be lost in Virginia alone.
At Washingtonian Interiors Inc., an interior design company on Chain Bridge Road, Manager Will Knicely said people are thinking twice about launching interior design projects.
“I would say yes, any time the government does something that has to do with money, it affects people’s decision to spend,” he said. “And we have been blessed. Things are on the upswing, but we have seen things slack off the last couple of weeks.”
Yet, a manager at the nearby pet supply shop Your Dog’s Best Friend said she hasn’t seen any changes in business.
Margie Woolaver, owner of McLean’s Lamps Unlimited, said business hasn’t yet suffered due to the sequester.
“It’s very difficult to say,” Woolaver said. “It’s a roller coaster. One day its good, and the next one is quiet. I think everyone is just standing around going (crazy) with what to do. ... So, we haven’t seen anything specific yet. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
At Music & Arts on Chain Bridge Road, Manager Brad King said the sequester is impacting his customers in different ways.
“Many of them are government-employed, so I don’t know if they’re affected by the sequester or not,” he said. “This area is a little bit different than like an industrial-based area, where people are more affected by the ups and downs of the economy. I think people are a little bit more buffered in this general vicinity from stuff like that. It’s hard to say.”
But at Burns Brothers Cleaners on Old Dominion Drive co-owner Amy Burns said businesses has trickled down to almost nothing. It’s the worst she’s ever seen.
“We have virtually ground to a halt, and it’s not just my business,” Burns said. “We’ve been here, same location, for 64 years and have seen a lot of ups and downs, and this is something totally different.”
Read more about the sequester:
Longer Airport Security Lines, Fewer Flights with Sequestration
McDonnell: Sequester Could Force Virginia Into Recession
What are you Doing on Your Furlough Days?
Sequestration to Affect Metro Maintenance, Long-Term Upgrades
Thanks to Sequestration, You're About to Lose Your Job: Who's to Blame?