Posted on October 21, 2013 at 5:54 AM
During the government shutdown, the tiny town of Ashford, WA was effectively shut down as well.
The town of only a few hundred lies at the doorstep of Mount Rainier National Park, and is nearly completely dependent on visitors stopping on their way to the park.
“There was no traffic, there was nothing,” recalls Bonnie Welsh of Suver’s General Store. “We live on that, you know, the businesses up here live on tourism.”
Business at her store was cut by more than half during the shutdown. Some restaurants and hotels decided to close completely because it simply wasn’t worth staying open.
But now, things are back to normal.
“All of the sudden we’re booking rooms again, people are coming in, everybody’s happy,” said Sara Bartholomew with a smile. She’s a manager at Whittaker’s Bunkhouse, a popular stop for folks making their way into the park.
“It was completely different,” she said. “One day you just woke up and there were more cars here.”
During the shutdown they had to cut their hours in half, closing at 1 p.m. Now so many people are coming through, they’ve decided to expand their winter hours to seven days a week instead of the normal three.
“It changes the dynamic of the customer, it puts the customer in a better mood, I’m in a better mood, everybody’s happy.”