NASA-area businesses feel impact of government shutdown

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- At the Las Anitas Mexican restaurant a few blocks from the Johnson Space Center, lunch time used to be full.

"Typically lunch time, I'm running," said Carlos Zuniga.

Not so much these days. "It's not crowded, slow, because things shut down."

The restaurant, located in a strip center called, of all things, NASA Center, is not the only mom and pop shop seeing business declines.

Next door at the pet grooming shop, Stacie Mathis is upset for herself, and all business owners in the area.

"I can't imagine, coming here every day and doing my job, and not getting paid," Mathis said, who has been in the center for 14 years. "Or (have them say) 'Don't worry about it, it will come later.' No, it's needed now."

Mathis anticipated a downturn in her grooming business, but what she didn't expect is that the shutdown would mean she gets no child support. Her ex-husband is on furlough from NASA.

The child support is directly deducted from his paycheck, but he hasn't been getting any pay, so there is nothing to deduct.

"I didn't expect it, until that first child support check didn't come, so we're juggling. We're working together," said Mathis, who has a good relationship with her ex.

The staff at a nearby sports bar are also feeling the pinch.

"We're affected too because if they can't make the money, they can't spend the money, and we can't make the money here," said Stephanie Baggett, who has seen her regular customers turn into occasional drop-ins.

"Can't go on much longer," said Mathis, as she trimmed up another pet customer. "I hope they can find a solution."

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