Uncertainty remains among Spring Hill business owners - WKRN News 2

Uncertainty remains among Spring Hill business owners

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SPRING HILL, Tenn. - General Motors announced plans Monday to idle production at its assembly plant in Spring Hill, leaving the plant's 2,500 employees and thousands of residents who rely on the plant's economic thrust, in limbo.

Spring Hill was built on the jobs the plant provides and the town has grown exponentially since GM began operations there in 1990 with the Saturn.

Nine years ago, only 7,000 people lived in Spring Hill.

Today, the total population has grown to exceed 25,000.

Production at the Spring Hill plant will be idled later this year and the facility placed on standby.

The Chevy Traverse, the crossover SUV the Spring Hill factory now makes, will be moved to Lansing, Michigan.

While the plant is not on GM's list to close, the city and surrounding communities will feel the affects of Monday's announcement for months, worrying business owners like Gary Sherman, who opened local bar and restaurant Gary's Place three years ago.

He said around 25% of his customers are employees of the auto plant who lately, aren't spending money like they used to.

"People are just scared to spend money, that's just the brunt of it really," Sherman continued  "The $30, $40 they had to spend on entertainment is now being put toward mortgages and bills and everything else."

Darwin Bible owns a barber shop in Spring Hill and said his business is too very much tied to the plant.

"Ever since I've been here, I have been dealing with the GM on again, off again situation," he said.

Three years ago, Bible moved his barber shop from Nashville to Spring Hill and enjoyed the benefits of a then-booming economy.

"I think about it a lot, when the shift change comes and traffic backs up all the way here," Bible said Monday.  "I'm sure that's not going to be happening anymore."

He said the plant's future idle will "definitely take a toll on this community" and said in some ways, it already has.

"In the past nine weeks, I know of five restaurants, not only individual restaurants, but restaurants with corporate backing, that have closed their doors," he said.

Bible said not knowing has been the hardest in Spring Hill and Monday's announcement does little to clear things up.

Like most residents, Bible had hoped for a "clear cut and decisive end."

"A lot of people in this area have really been in a lot of fear and uncertainty," he said.

For now, Bible said he will hope for the best and knows it could have been worse.

There will be no immediate job loss in Spring Hill although layoffs could be likely when the plant goes idle.

When and if production at the plant resumes depends on the economy.

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