Businesses worry the Sea Ray plant closure will hurt them

Businesses worry the Sea Ray plant closure will hurt their bottom line

Posted:
"It's just bad for everybody," said pizzeria owner Chris Angelos. "It's just bad for everybody," said pizzeria owner Chris Angelos.
Armstrong's Bar and Grill just received their liquor license. The owner hopes it will make up for lost revenue. Armstrong's Bar and Grill just received their liquor license. The owner hopes it will make up for lost revenue.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Sea Ray plant near Knoxville will be closed by the end of this year due to lagging sales of larger boats.

The company estimates about 225 people will lose their jobs. 

But it's not just the employees that are impacted by the plant's closure. Other businesses around the area may also lose revenue.  

Several small businesses are located within a quarter mile of the plant.  The owners of these businesses said that when the Sea Ray plant closes, their own business sales will go down, too.

Chris Angelos opened Angelos' Italian Pizzeria nine months ago. He said business has been good and being less than a quarter of a mile from the Sea Ray plant helps bring in customers.

"A lot of employees come here on their breaks and stuff and have meetings," said Angelos.

Angelos found out the plant was closing Tuesday, after a customer who works at Sea Ray shared the news.

"One customer, he was really upset, so it's just bad for everybody. It's not good for anybody, I don't think," said Angelos.

Angelos estimates 10% of his business comes from Sea Ray employees.

"A lot of my customers work there and I talked to two of the people that worked there.  They said, 'We won't be back here no more because they are closing down'," said Angelos.

The Sea Ray employees also make up 10% of all sales at Armstrong's Bar and Grill just down the road. 

Long-time bartender Robert Jolley said the closure will impact the restaurant's bottom line.

"We are affected when someone in the industrial park closes," said Jolley. "When they have that many employees it will generate some kind of loss for us, I'm sure."

Jolley said after work, around 5:00 p.m., a large group of Sea Ray employees normally stop by for dinner and drinks.  He considers the regulars friends, and hopes they soon find future employment.

"I'm sure they're upset. You know, it's right before Christmas time and I'm sure they'd like to know they still have their job," said Jolley.

Angelos hopes opening up a buffet in his restaurant will make up for lost sales. 

Meanwhile, Armstrong's Bar and Grill just received their liquor license. The owner hopes the new choices will make up for lost revenue.

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