Westover job cuts to impact surrounding businesses

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Westover Air Reserve Base losing 300 base jobs could have a detrimental impact on local businesses.

In 2013, Westover ARB pumped $225 million into the local economy. That’s from workers living in the neighborhood, eating at local restaurants and shopping at local stores right here in western Massachusetts.

However, moving 8 C-5 planes to Texas beginning next year could mean 59 full-time airmen and 275 reservists could lose their jobs, which means shops in this area will lose businesses.

Some restaurant owners were shocked to hear the announcement Monday. Holly Warren, the owner of Homestyle Café, told 22News, “From my understanding I thought Westover was one of the bigger bases for the C5’s, and for them to be taking 8 planes out of here it’s definitely, you know, I don’t understand why.”

This isn’t the first time business owners are directly feeling the impact of base cuts. Owners said when some of the base employees were furloughed because of the government shutdown last fall; they immediately saw their businesses slowing down.

The same thing happened last spring when an across-the-board budget cuts affected payroll at Westover.

These business owners said 300 employees now losing their jobs could mean decreased sales and smaller profits.

“All the new restaurants on Memorial Drive. You’ve got all the restaurants here on Westover Road. I have a lot of regulars and I’m not going to be seeing them, and my feeling is it’s definitely going impact us, the whole City of Chicopee,” said Warren.

Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos said because the cuts will not take place until 2015, the city will have time to prepare.

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