Recession hits home

Max Filby and Max Filby

A declining economy means people have to find ways to fulfill their needs and desires on a tighter budget; it also means businesses have to deal with fewer customers willing to spend money.

The recession has added to an overwhelming competition among bars in Bowling Green, said Bob Everhart, owner of Ziggy Zoomba’s. More people are staying in instead of going out and spending money on the weekends.

“I’ve heard that a lot more people are smoking pot now instead of going out for a drink,” Everhart said. “There’s no real competition for it, and I guess it’s cheaper than a case of beer.”

Restaurants like Campus Pollyeyes have also seen a decline in business since the recession began. Campus Pollyeyes has been forced to close an hour earlier, at midnight, on weekdays, said owner Bobby Nicholson.

“Customers are getting smaller orders of breadsticks and ordering for delivery less often,” he said.

Campus Pollyeyes offers an overnight breadstick mailing service to University graduates that has also taken a large hit in the past two years.

“I think people are trying to be smarter with their money by eating at home more,” Nicholson said. “But it’s going to be really tough this summer with the students leaving.”

Gift services, like those available from The Flower Basket in downtown Bowling Green, continue to struggle through the recession. Owner Maryann Sandusky-Gibson has periodically given up her own paycheck in order to keep the business afloat.

“I went about seven months without a paycheck after the economy took nosedives in 2008 and 2009,” she said.

Although The Flower Basket has not officially laid off any florists, Sandusky-Gibson now works anywhere between 30 and 84 hours a week after she decided to save money by not replacing a former worker.

And even though The Flower Basket is currently going through a boom period due to increased orders for proms and Mother’s Day, small orders are becoming more common than large flower and gift orders.

“People just don’t have the disposable cash right now to buy things,” Sandusky-Gibson said. “I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had people come in with credit cards that don’t work.”

Local business owners are not the only people having financial trouble. Recent graduates are going through difficulties as well.

University alumnus Rufus Williams, who graduated in 2009, had trouble getting a job in sports administration and communications.

Williams has since moved to Dallas to temporarily work for AT&T Inc.

“Everyone is trying to be smarter and utilize who they already have instead of hiring new people, fresh out of college,” Williams said.

The economy is forcing people to take more of an initiative and be more creative when it comes to their professional lives, he said.

The University of Texas recently gave Williams an internship and the opportunity to attend graduate school for free. Williams was offered the internship after he began letting people know of his availability as an employee.

“Some people told me I was unprofessional for doing that,” Williams said. “But the recession just means you have to be more aggressive to get a job.”