West Branch feeling pains of Shutdown

The partial government shutdown does not appear to be having a big effect on most of eastern Iowa but for one small town that reality is just starting to sink in.

In West Branch the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum and Library is a big draw, however, right now, it is also closed until the government shutdown ends.

Business owners tell TV9 the closure of the library is hurting their wallets and they say you will see the impact if you just pay them a visit.

The sign said "open" outside Main Street Antiques and Art but behind the counter on Wednesday morning Louis Picek was not out assisting customers but was rather restoring an old picture frame.

"Today I've had no one in as far as a potential customers," said Picek.

The lack of foot traffic, Picek believes, is because of what is happening right up the road at The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.

"Anytime the park is closed it affects the downtown," said Picek.

It is downtown where one can see first hand the impact a partial government shutdown can have on a landmark run by the National Park Service. Music still plays outside but the doors remain closed and the parking lot is empty.

With no visitors from out of town to visit the library, even a flashing sign West Branch Emporium vendor Jennifer Stuckey-Leslie has discovered does little to drum up extra business.

"Slow, slow," said Stuckey-Leslie.

On Wednesday she estimated her sales were down 10%.

"It gets kind of depressing," said Stuckey-Leslie. "You get discouraged easily if you don't have the traffic."

Stuckey-Leslie believes she will in the end be able to overcome. Nevertheless, the impact of what the government shutdown is having on Main Street still forces Stuckey-Leslie to reflect on what is happening in Washington.

"It's sad, we don't feel real represented," said Stuckey-Leslie.

In the case of Picek he says he has seen his fair share of government shutdowns over the last several decades he has run his store. Picek tells TV9 he too thinks he will be able to weather this latest issue thanks to long time clients of his.

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