The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

March 9, 2013

Businesses in military towns brace for budget hit

(Continued)

Guzman also owns Wings Aviation Products in nearby Daleville, a store that sells flight supplies, sunglasses and clothes to aviators and their families. She fears any cutback in flight training time could result in a downturn in revenue because nearly all the store's sales are linked to Army aviation.

Compounding her family's worries is the fact that Guzman's husband is a contract flight instructor who is facing the loss of nearly one month's salary a year.

"It hits us both ways, both from our businesses and our family income," she said.

There are those looking on the bright side, however. Slimmer government paychecks could send more people looking for quick cash to pawn shops and payday loan businesses.

At the Advance Till Payday cash advance store in Oak Grove, Ky., manger Judy Backlund gets a lot of her business from nearby Fort Campbell. The Army prohibits soldiers from using the short-term, high-interest loans, but she deals with plenty of civilians and contractors who work at the post.

Backlund said she's already getting calls from people who are worried about stretching their salaries if they are furloughed. Cash advance stores have been criticized for their high fees and interest rates, though the industry has said it's a necessary option for people who can't get a personal loan from traditional banks.

"It's not an answer to all your problems, but it's better than nothing," she said. "Most people are living paycheck to paycheck, and not much is going into savings."

One of her employees, 33-year-old Vanessa Nohelty, is the wife of a Fort Campbell soldier. Although military salaries are exempt from the budget cuts, Nohelty said the cuts could threaten many of the family programs and services on which spouses rely.

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