Posted: Oct 8, 2013 9:26 PM by Jamie Leary - MTN News
Updated: Oct 9, 2013 7:58 AM
As the government shutdown continues at eight days and counting, many business owners in West Yellowstone are forced to close up shop.
Co-Owner of the Madison Motel, Garrett Ostler said, "We are effectively closing as a result of the closure of the park and that we cannot continue to operate at a loss. This is devastating to the community."
The 100-year-old Madison Motel paints quite a picture of how the government shutdown has hit businesses.
The motel's co-owner Linda Christensen said, "When you shut off our only source of income, it's really hard on the people that are here."
The Madison Motel has been through a lot - the Great Depression, the earthquake of 1959 and the devastating fires of 1988. But, the owners say, even the fires were better than this.
"We even had the troops here in ‘88, which helped and there were people in town eating meals and staying the night," Christensen said.
In just two days, the motel has gone from 70 percent occupancy to two guests.
"It is completely dead. We were open for two hours this morning and not one guest came into our gift shop," Ostler said.
"It is dead on the street. Several restaurant owners say it's costing them more to turn on their lights than what they're making in a day."
That is precisely the case for the restaurant at the Three Bear Lodge. It will stay open but its manager had to send half of the staff home.
Tommy Arey, Three Bear Restaurant Manager said, "Some of them have children and some of them have the bills. They expect that paycheck and so that's been the tough part, to lay off my employees that work so hard all year long just to keep us going and then just to stop just like that overnight."
"I think we're at 30 percent of where we normally are this time of year," Arey said.
One of the only places in West Yellowstone that actually has quite a few guests, is Worldmark, The Club and that is because it is made up of timeshares. Many guests book years in advance and have to make the trip.
Patsy Ford is a timeshare guest. "Yeah because if you don't, you lose your airplane ticket, you lose your time at the time share and it's very costly," she said.