Editorial: Association, others suffering because of closure

Oct. 03, 2013 @ 11:07 PM

While some across the country may not feel the pain of a government shutdown, there's no question others are.

On Thursday, Great Smoky Mountains Association Director Terry Maddox revealed his organization lost over $30,000 in sales revenue alone in one day.

"We achieved $2,000 in sales from our three stores outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park," Maddox said in his daily update video on Youtube.com. "Yesterday should have been a $35,000 to $40,000 revenue day."

Maddox said his Wednesday included a variety of meetings within the organization, including meetings with finance officials to minimize the damage to the group.

"We looked at different scenarios, based on if the park is closed one week, two weeks, three weeks, whatever it may be," he said. "They're pretty scary scenarios."

While Maddox said that 25 full-time employees were still on payroll, the group has begun the process of contacting vendors throughout the region and throughout the country to talk about returning merchandise or negotiating some sort of plan about the products currently on hand. 

"Currently our inventory is right at $1 million," Maddox said.

Maddox said the situation is also hurting the state government. In the first two days, he said, $3,500 in sales tax was missed out on by the states of North Carolina and Tennessee.

In addition to the park's problems and those of the association, small businesses are also being impacted by the decisions of the federal government.

Over 50 weddings had been scheduled for the National Park this month, meaning photographers, officiants and wedding companies are all scrambling to pick up the pieces.

“It's the perfect time of year for outdoor weddings in the Smoky Mountains," said Eric Gebhart, a photographer who said he's paid over $500 for permits to photograph couples in park.

“October is normally the best month of the year for me, but this year it looks like it's going to be a bust unless circumstances change quickly.”