Government shutdown affects local businesses

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Several local business owners say they saw a huge drop in revenue because of the government shutdown, but one business' profit actually increased within the past couple of weeks.

Lustre Cleaners has an illustrious clientele that includes several congressmen, but three weeks ago, clerks at the Capitol Hill dry cleaner saw its customers drying up.

“It was rather slow… the customers that did some in, they were kind of panicky,” says Linda Dye.

Dye says panic quickly subsided and the cleaners started cleaning up in profits.

“The second week, it started getting better. It started picking up a little bit more.”

But next door at Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits, no one was drowning their furlough sorrows in single malt. The owner describes the last two weeks in two just words: not good. In fact, from the start of the shutdown through Thursday, she’s seen profits plummet.

“I would say easily 20 to 30 percent because they’re your regulars,” says Savita Malhotra.

Malhotra says the Capitol Hill Hotel next door lost about 50 percent of its occupancy. Reservation managers would only say cancellations are up since they cater to businesses on the Hill.

The owners of Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits also own Harry’s Reserve in Southeast Washington, but it hasn’t seen at least a 20 percent drop in business because lawmakers and their staffers live in the area, owners say.