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Federal workers glad to be back at work after three week shutdown
OKALOOSA COUNTY -- Okaloosa County - The federal government is open for business. The deal was reached late last night.
And that's not just good news for federal workers. Many local businesses felt the effects of the furloughs and are now waiting to see if the federal employees return to spend money.
Sitting just down the road from the back gate of Eglin Air Force Base, Tucker Dukes' customer base is more than 50% government employees. When the government shutdown happened it didn't only affect those employees, but the business itself.
Tucker Dukes Lunch Box has been open for about three years. Each day they serve 120 to 200 burgers to hungry customers.
Since the government shut down, the owners say their business plunged, up to 22%.
"We still saw the men in uniform and women in uniform dining with us, but even that's been in less numbers in general," said owner, Brian Cartenuto.
"When government workers in this area are affected all of us are affected. They don't get hair cuts, go to the dry cleaner, they don't come for a burger," said owner, Joe Cartenuto.
Paul Webster owner of The Tint Shop on Beal Parkway says his business took a hit, too. His service is not considered a necessity but luxury item.
Many people who were furloughed were struggling to pay bills and not spending as much on those types of services.
"Military dollars are very much needed in our community and when we don't have those here we suffer greatly," said Webster.
But, he says good news travels fast and he already had a few customers return Thursday.
"They're feeling confident they're going to have a pay check rather then holding their money back," said Webster.
This is just the first day the government has reopened and the owners say it's a waiting game to see if their customers return.