Local business responds to end of SRNS worker furloughs

By: Karen Edwards Email
By: Karen Edwards Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, May 23, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- It's been two months since SRNS workers were furloughed one day a week, cutting their pay by 20 percent, but those furloughed workers weren't the only ones who felt the impact.

"It's fantastic news for all of downtown Aiken. It really is," said Mary Boscia, who has been beading for more than 40 years and has owned M.B. Jewelry & Beads in downtown Aiken for 10 years.

Furloughs cost those workers 20 percent of their pay, which had a major impact on downtown businesses.

"My sales didn't take a little dive, they took took a major plummet," she said.

"What it's had is about a $7.5 million a month impact. And this has been two months, so we've had a $15 million impact," explained David Jameson, president of the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce.

Small business owners like Boscia have been taking a hit of more than 20 percent over these last two months. Now, she's just looking forward to getting business back to normal.

"Over 35 percent of my customers work at SRS. I'm looking forward to seeing the customers just to say 'hi,'" she said.

Jameson was part of a team that went to Washington to get these workers back on their regular schedule.

That mission has been accomplished, but it may take some time to see major improvements.

"I think there will be a little lag between Tuesday when workers go back to work and when the community actually feels it," Jameson said.

But Boscia says things are already looking up.

"It's great," she said. "And I can see the difference downtown already."

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