Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- If scheduled federal Military Budget cuts aren't stopped, the Air Force, Army and Navy will force billions in wage and spending cuts.
Julius Thomas is in his fourth year as co-owner of the Freeplay athletic center on Forest Drive. As a trainer, he knows the importance of a good workout. He also knows that to survive in this competitive market, he has to keep customers coming through his front doors.
"They have a great time, they come here and enjoy the facilities," said Thomas.
But Ii automatic military pay reductions go through March 1st, some 5,000 civilians will be furloughed at Fort Jackson, resulting in $27 million dollars in lost pay. It's money Thomas says may not be spent on services like fitness.
"We are not a country that likes to exercise, so we may be the first ones on that chopping block," said Thomas.
Frank Knapp with the Small Business Chamber says anytime you take money away from main street, it affects small businesses negatively. He says federal cuts can even force some owners to cutback employee hours or even turn to layoffs.
"A lot of that goes right to the bottom line of small businesses," said Knapp. "It has a ripple effect then because those employee's will not be spending as much money in the local economy. It just continues to snowball."
Thomas says like any good business owner, he'll prepare for the worst, hoping to prevent the ripple from turning into a tidal wave.
"We are worried about our future here," said Thomas. We are going to have to tighten our belts and make sure we are able to keep our heads afloat."