SRS employees feeling the pain in the wallet

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, March 5, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- Employees at the Savannah River Site are going to have tighter wallets within a month, which means trouble for local businesses in downtown Aiken.

"It will affect our business, most definitely," said Sam Erb, the owner of the West Side Bowery in downtown Aiken.

This isn't his first time dealing with layoffs and cut-backs, though.

"We've been going through a lot layoffs through the plant and other businesses closing," Erb said.

But with a recent announcement to furlough employees of the SRS, it's especially hard for him and others.

A letter sent to employees of the SRS states: "Approximately 2,000 employees will be impacted by this decision and placed on 32-hour work schedules."

Meaning those workers will be left eight hours short of full-time work.

President and CEO of Aiken's Chamber of Commerce says it could have an impact on business downtown.

"If 20 or 25 percent of their wages are cut ... people are going to cut back on their spending," Jameson said.

He says the City of Aiken was caught off guard.

"This is just the first one to roll out, we had an hour's notice ahead ahead of the notification of the employees, and we haven't had time to react," Jameson said.

But Jameson says that when the new work schedules roll out on April 1, he'll be paying attention to what's happening in his city.

"We'll just have to ride it out and see what happens, see what begins to be the impacts of the community, then form strategies to help our businesses overcome this impact," Jameson said.

Meanwhile, Erb says he is prepared for anything that comes his way.

"Tighten the belt and advertise and do what you have to do to get people in the door," he said.

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