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Private businesses expected to suffer during shutdown

By Andrew Pereira
Published On: Sep 30 2013 05:19:00 PM HST

Private businesses may join hundreds of thousands of government workers who will suffer due to the government shutdown.

HONOLULU -

It's estimated 800,000 federal workers will be impacted by furloughs as the federal government partially shuts down Tuesday at midnight. However, some private business owners are also lamenting the stalemate between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, especially those near federal buildings and offices.

At Restaurant Row in Kakaako, local eateries depend on federal workers stopping by for lunch from the Prince Kuhio Federal Building on Punchbowl Street.

"It will probably impact us because we're close to the federal building and have a lot of federal agencies here," said Carl Hamada, owner of Carval Café at Restaurant Row. "They come from the courts, (and) all the agencies in the federal building."

Just a few store fronts down from Carval Café, Image City Inc. is a one-stop print shop. However, 70 percent of the business generated by Image City comes from those needing passport photos of fingerprinting services for U.S. Immigration.

"When the federal government closes down, then our company would be really slow because we take a lot of government passports and we take a lot of finger printing for the government and stuff like that," said Image City owner Nancy Kou. "Today has been really busy because I think people heard of the government closing down."

According to a survey last year by Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management, 11 percent of business owners said a government shutdown would have a "very negative" impact on them if it lasted a week. However, if a shutdown lasts a full month, 35 percent of those same business owners said the impact would be "very negative."

Although many government buildings and visitor attractions like the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial will go dark during a shutdown, not all services will be affected. The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl will continue to conduct funerals and committal services, but not all 27 cemetery workers may be on the job.

"It may be with a limited staff, we'll have to wait and see what Washington says," said cemetery director Gene Castagnetti.

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