BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - If Keesler Air Force base continues to lose personnel, some business owners say get ready for nearby properties to start losing value.
As we have reported, the Department of Defense is considering cutting another 119 military jobs at Keesler on top of the 200 jobs that are scheduled to go away in June. Some business owners feel they will be able to survive while others aren't so sure.
With a location just outside Keesler's gate seven, Kim Taylor sees a lot of military customers at her alternation shop. She says she enjoys helping our men and women in uniform look their best.
"I really like the people. They're hard working," said Taylor.
Taylor said 90 percent of her customers are servicemen and about half of those servicemen are airmen. She feels even with cutbacks at Keesler, she'll be able to mend her loses.
"I have a good mix of business. I can't say only Air Force or Army or Navy. Civilian. Everybody," Taylor said.
Also on Pass Road is Harry Steinwinder's barbershop, which he opened 42 years ago.
"When I first bought this place there were over 30,000 troops at Keesler out there," Steinwinder said. "They just keep cutting and cutting and cutting and our military has been hurt all the way."
Steinwinder expects local businesses will be hurt because fewer airmen at Keesler means fewer customers to go around.
"Prices of property, everything will go flat," said Steinwinder. "Businesses out here on Pass Road outside of gate seven, if they close Keesler the way that they're going right now, every business along this way for a good two miles will be out of business. It's just no business."
The Air Force Reserve Command plans to transfer the 10 C-130J aircraft assigned to the 403rd Wing to a base in Little Rock.