Southeast Eugene’s businesses stay afloat in the economy while individuals sink.
By Jenni Moore
Families in Southeast Eugene are significantly more affected by the economic recession than its businesses, according to a Reporting 1 Blog news survey conducted Tuesday night.
Although the businesses themselves have maintained a consistent flow of customers, employees and families said they are more cautious than ever in terms of their spending.
According to Mason Ambo, the General Manager at Mazzi’s, the restaurant hasn’t been affected as much as other restaurants in Eugene. Ambo says the restaurant has not had to lay-off many employees, but they do release host and wait staff from shifts on a daily basis.
While Mazzi’s has apparently had consistent business, Ambo said the recession has taken its toll on him personally, making him a more frugal consumer. “I’m more cautious of where I spend my money,” he said.
Glenn Wells, a cashier at the family owned Jiffy Market said their business hasn’t been too stunted by the state of the economy, but they do make fewer high-priced wine sales. “People are less inclined to splurge,” he added.
Since the market mostly sells beer, wine and groceries, Wells said the customers are loyal and continue to shop there. “If anything, it [has] mostly helped business because of customer relationships,” he said.
Because the Jiffy Market seeks to replace former employees rather than to expand its staff, it has not needed to cut hours for very often. “They are super awesome with hours,” Wells added. Since Wells was unemployed for almost three months recently, he knows how hard it is to get employed at this time.
“It’s made me happier to have a job.” Individual employees and customers experience a lot of the impact of the recession, but those supporting families have felt the biggest financial blow.
Katherine Conway, a Telephone Advice Nurse waited in JC’s Laundry Tuesday evening because her five-person family cannot afford a new washing machine. This is just one of the ways she sacrifices in order to support her family during the recession.
Although the costs of using a Laundromat do add-up, Conway said she and her husband, who is a teacher, just don’t have the money to replace it. Conway said she often tries to pick up extra shifts when they need covering, but there is a lot more competition right now for the extra hours. However, when people’s insurance runs out and cannot afford to go to the doctor, the number of calls increases.
As a Telephone Advice Nurse, Conway talks to a lot people with anxiety and depression. “A lot of times it’s related to money worries,” she said. This is something she can relate to. Since the recession began, Conway has felt that her stress levels have noticeably gone up. Conway said there has been 6 days cut from the school calendar, leaving her husband with significantly fewer hours. “He makes $250 a day, so for our family of five, it’s a lot,” she said.
The family has even tried to save money by going to their local food bank a couple of times. “How do you pay the bills when you don’t have enough?” She asked. Humbled by the experience, Conway said she got tearful the first time she went, and added “you don’t feel like you can help people other people.”
Since she couldn’t afford to donate money, Katherine Conway did a shoe collection for Haiti. By asking friends and neighbors, she and her family collected 245 pairs in just a few days. “We try to give them as much help as we can.” Conway said her hope is that a Haitian father with a pair of solid shoes can walk on the broken streets and be further enabled to support for his family.