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Businesses Feel Ripple Effects of Tornado

"Our customers are gone."
WASHINGTON – The Washington tornado did its fair share of physical damage, but now the destruction is headed toward the city’s economy.

"Our customers are gone," said Yvonne Andresen, who owns a small coffee shop in town called “The Blend.”

The staff there is usually a lot busier at this time of year. It's a business that relies on the holidays and cool weather to draw people in for a treat.

"People don't have the time of the income to come right now and purchase like they would have last year," Andresen said.

She said between the coffee shop and her other small business her profits are already down by 30 percent.

"Really the bottom line is my income if I can maintain the salaries," she said.

Andresen has already cut down on the hours her employees can clock. Luckily there are people in Washington to help people in her position.

"Our name says small, but we cover all business sizes," said Michael Peacock at the Small Business Administration.

The agency has set up shop in the Washington Library. People can report damage if it's economic or structural. Workers are on hand to guide business owners through their options for loans and aid.

"If they've received damage as a result of the storm and they need financial assistance, the SBA is the form of assistance from the federal government,” Peacock said.

In the meantime, Andresen speaks for many in Washington when she says, "come here and support a local business. Come here if you want to go out to eat. Come here."

The Small Business Administration is open at the library at 380 N. Wilmor Road every day except Sunday.

Opens:  Friday, Dec. 6 at 9 a.m.

Hours:  Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
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