Government Shutdown Impacting Local Economy

Bedford County, VA - The federal government shutdown is having an impact on our local economy.

Eighty-eight people who work at the Peaks of Otter Lodge are laid off. They can apply for unemployment after a week. Those workers are not employed by the federal government. They work for Delaware North, the company that operates the lodge.

Since the building is owned by the National Park Service, the company was told to close.

"They call up here daily, asking if we've heard anything and of course we know as much as the next person, watching the news and seeing what happens," said Robert Peters, the lodge's general manager. "Now everybody's at home. Everybody's waiting."

The impact doesn't end there. The lodge buys produce and dairy products from local vendors. The gift shop is stocked with items made by local artisans.

Ronnie Gross, with Mountain Valley Produce, is one of the suppliers.

"They've gotten fresh produce from us all season long and enjoyed that," said Gross. "They are very much a community oriented company. They want to support the community and purchase from the community as much as possible."

Many of the lodge employees had just returned to work in July after the lodge closed last November. Delaware North entered into a 10-year lease with the National Park Service to operate the lodge.

Delaware North operates facilities at other national parks including Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Shenandoah in Luray, Virginia.

The company could lose $1 million a day during the shutdown.