No federal shutdown brings relief outside Keesler gate 7

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of cars stream in and out of gate seven at Keesler Air Force Base every day, many of them headed for the dozens of businesses located just outside the gate.

At Dane's Barber Shop, a government shutdown could have meant a close shave for the bottom line.  The military makes up half of the business at the shop.

As he sat in the barber's chair, tech Sergeant Garrett Hamilton thought he may be getting his last haircut for awhile if he misses out on his next payday.  However, a last minute deal on Capitol Hill averted a shutdown, at least until next Thursday.

"It is a great big deal," Hamilton said. "We all have house notes and stuff and you just can't run out and find a job on a whim. We've been told they were going to pass the resolution and it never happened."

Dane Micele has been cutting hair at Dane's for seven years. For him, the future is uncertain and the economic impact would be great.

"Oh certainly, if I was to lose that kind of business it certainly would hurt," Micele said. "That affects everybody here, and just like everybody else, we're trying to make ends meet."

At An-Jac's Bar-B-Que, people from Keesler flock in for a quick bite to eat before heading back to the base. Workers stay busy preparing those meals. But if the Keesler workers don't get paid, and stop coming, the tables could end up empty.

If this impasse lasts too long and the government actually does shut down next week, some business owners outside Keesler gate 7 are afraid they may never be able to recover. One of those is An-Jacs owner Lacy Middleton.

"I think it would be difficult, very difficult," Middleton said.  "It's already tough times anyway. We went through the oil spill and everything else, so we're just recovering."

With the federal shutdown temporarily averted, people will go back to work on Monday.  And members of the military won't have to take over those jobs.

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