Mayport businesses feeling ripple effect of possible military cuts

Local business fearful of sequestration

MAYPORT, Fla. – The threat of sequestration continues as the countdown reaches closer to the March 1st deadline on Capitol Hill.

There have been cuts considered by the Department of Defense, but the impact of those cuts go deeper than security checks at airports or FBI staff sitting on furloughs.

The proposed cuts could impact the people of Jacksonville, especially the restaurant businesses in Mayport.

Owner of Bongiorno's Philly Steak, Jeff Bongiorno, is worried about the future of his restaurant.

"I'd hate to lose this. We don't have any children, so this is what she puts all of her time into," said Bongiorno, speaking about his wife, who helps run the restaurant.

The dining atmosphere is different across the parking lot at Simply Tasty Thai, but the restaurant's owner, Chris and Nancy Straw share the same emotions as the Bongiorno's.

"It's not only my restaurant, my family, my dream, my everything in here," said Chris Straw. "If they get one unpaid day off per week, that's one day less they may come here, consequently it's tough for everybody."

"It would hurt our business to the point, we might have to consider shutting down," said Bongiorno. "If we don't keep some of the personnel on the base coming here."

Both families are invested in the Mayport community and are devastated by the news of possible defense department cuts.

"It's not a job you're going to get rich at, but you have to feel it in your heart it's the right thing to do," said Straw. "That's why I served. Naturally, through my business, I want to serve the people who are serving now."