Meadows of Dan: Open for business despite shutdown - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Meadows of Dan: Open for business despite shutdown

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The government shutdown continues to take its toll on a small community in Patrick County.

Business owners in Meadows of Dan rely heavily on traffic from the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway and Mabry Mill for their livelihood -- and October is usually their busiest month.

"People come to Mabry Mill as a tradition," said Felecia Shelor, who owns Poor Farmer's Market in Meadows of Dan.  "They come here and eat.  There's tour buses that come here.  The money we make in October we're dependent on to carry us through the dead winter months.  This is like Christmas for other businesses."

Both the parkway and Mabry Mill are operated by the National Park Service -- and while the shutdown has forced the closure of most amenities and services along the parkway, the road itself and the pathways around the mill remain open.  Shelor says that's created confusion for visitors -- which ultimately hurts Meadows of Dan.

"People think they can't get on the parkway," said Shelor.  "We want people to know that the parkway is open.  The overlooks are open.  All the businesses in the communities along the parkway are open.  There's plenty to do.  Come on up!"

She and other business owners say they've noticed a steep drop off in business over the past week.

"We're not getting the seven to ten tour and church buses each day that we're accustomed to," said Shelor.  "Normally when I would pull in to work around 10:00, the parking lot would be full.  And I think there was one car in our parking lot this morning.  Clearly traffic is not as much as normal."

They've reached out to their Congressmen pleading with them to end the shutdown -- and are encouraging others to do the same.

"We think our leaders are trying to hurt us," said Shelor.  "They're trying to make us pay for their ineptitude.  And we are mad.  The business people -- the people who really understand what's happening -- we're not taking sides.  We're holding both sides accountable."

And while they're not sure their complaints will have much impact in Washington, they're hopeful their campaign to let people know they're open will help get more customers through their doors.



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