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April 10, 2014

Fallin seeks aid for businesses affected by closure of memorial bridge

(Continued)

NORMAN —

An economic injury declaration by the SBA would allow business owners in McClain and Cleveland counties to apply for federally subsidized loans.

“The increase in travel time has created an undue financial burden for the residents and small business owners in both counties and communities,” the governor wrote in a letter to the SBA. “The magnitude of the bridge closure presents unexpected consequences to these communities that could be difficult to recover from without extended support from the SBA.”

Several businesses in Lexington, which make up 90 percent of the city’s economic structure, are reporting a 30 to 50 percent decline in sales as a result of the bridge closure, the governor wrote.

Businesses documenting the pinch include A & B Auto Recyclers, C&C Tag, C&C Insurance and Clark’s Floors & Moore in Lexington.

Frank and Jeanice Clark of Clark’s Floors told the governor in a letter that they have “operated out of Lexington for over 17 years.”

The Clarks said they saw a dramatic drop in business as a result of the bridge closure.

“We rely heavily on consumers from Purcell, Pauls Valley, Norman and many other small, surrounding towns of Purcell and Lexington for our business,” the Clarks said.

In Purcell, small business owners represent about 80 percent of the city’s economic structure.

In addition to Purcell Farm and Ranch Supply, Alma’s Flowers, Purcell Vision Clinic, Savvy Parke, Starchy’s Cleaners and United Drug & Health in Purcell also are suffering.

“Our shop receives orders daily for delivery to residents and business in Lexington,” said Patti Wilhoit, of Alma’s Flowers, in a letter to the governor detailing the strain the closure is putting on her business. “Now what used to be a three-minute delivery is 70-80 minute delivery. We have been forced to refuse orders daily because it is not feasible ...”

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