GA businesses step up in wake of military furloughs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

GA businesses step up in wake of military furloughs

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

South Georgia businesses are stepping forward to help the furloughed employees at Albany's Marine Corps Logistics Base.

The base civilian employees will lose 20 percent of their pay, as they are furloughed one day a week for 11 weeks.

Now South Georgia business owners will offer discounts to help the furloughed employees through their financially challenging time.

The Marine Corps Logistics Base is one of the biggest employers in Albany with a civilian workforce of nearly 3000 people.

The Albany Chamber of Commerce is asking businesses willing to help their neighbors to join their effort and show their support.

Mike's Country Store owner Mike Rogers is the first to step up and offer real help to the Marine Corps Logistics Base furloughed employees.

Starting next week, until the furloughs end, base civilian employees showing their ID's will get ten percent off their entire grocery bill at both of his stores.

"We want to be able to help them out and support them anyway we can.  We know the way the economy is, any little bit helps," says Rogers.

The furloughs could have a major impact on South Georgia's economy. The base's civilian personnel payroll is $179 million, so the furlough will cancel $7 .6 million of that over the 11 week period.That loss of capital will be felt by many businesses in the Albany area, but of course it's most dramatic effect will be on those families losing 20 percent of their paychecks.

So, the Chamber of Commerce is asking other businesses that want to help to join in.

"We want to reach out to local businesses to be able to provide discount services on vital products and services that they offer," says Albany Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Hardy.

"Things that they need on a daily basis, on a weekly basis. And this is just our way to give back to them."

Monday was the first furlough day for the base employees, so their next paycheck will show the cut.

The Base Commanding Officer, Colonel Donald Davis, said "We couldn't be more appreciative. From the bottom of my heart I am grateful to the organizations who are extending to our personnel something that will lessen the pain of what they are feeling for the next 11 weeks."

Mike Rogers looks forward to seeing the base families, and hopes other business owners join him.

Chamber officials say Publix, CVS, and Walgreens have all expressed support and are working on discounts they may offer.

Navy Federal Credit Union, which many of the base employees have loans and mortgages with, is talking with base officials about deferring loan payments. Those are still in the works, and are expected to be announced soon.

If you know of any South Georgia business that will offer discounted service or products to furloughed base employees, the Albany Chamber of Commerce is asking to know as well.

You can call and share with the Chamber by calling them at 434-8700.

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