900 civilian jobs on chopping block at JBLM; local businesses worry about impact

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- -- More civilian job cuts at Joint Base Lewis-McChord  have local businesses worried about the impact.

JBLM says they have to trim 900 civilian jobs over a two-year period.

At 7 Sisters Barber Shop, it’s a revolving door of JBLM soldiers.

Clients come in for an $8 haircut, but on Monday owner Teresa is focused on another type of cut.

“Already been slow down, so kind of pretty shocked,” Teresa said.

She's wondering how the 900 civilian job cuts will impact her business.

“It gets worse and worse every year,” Teresa said.

JBLM says they hope to keep the impact minimal over the next few years by not filling vacant positions and offering early retirement.

“When I heard 900 staff, I was thinking Army officers,” veteran Steve Quesenberry said.

It’s a bit of a relief for Quesenberry to hear the latest cuts are not active-duty troops on the base where he used to serve.

Quesenberry makes a living as the owner of a tattoo shop close to the base.

“Prior to 2012, business was booming,” Quesenberry said.

With the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, JBLM has cut about 7, 000 soldiers in the past three years.

Quesenberry says his business is down 30% and it is hard getting used to that new normal.

“There is, what, 10 barber shops on this street? There would be only be a use for half of them, if they are lucky,” Quesenberry said.

And as the owner of one of those barber shops, Teresa hopes she can pull through another round of cuts.

“That’s kind of hard for me, you know what I mean?” Teresa said.

Civilian jobs at the base range from firefighters to hospital workers and contractors.