Hytrol Layoffs Concern for Surrounding Businesses

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Officials with Hytrol Conveyor Company have announced the lay-offs of 100 employees, triggering concerns about Jonesboro's economic outlook. Couch's Barbecue, one of the oldest restaurants in Jonesboro, has had to make job cuts as well.

"Everybody is just having to cut back, and it's, you know, we all have to tighten our belts," said David Couch.

Couch is the owner of Couch's Barbecue on Nettleton in Jonesboro. He said Friday's job cuts at Hytrol have had a negative impact on his business. Couch said employees at Hytrol and other industries often come to his restaurant during lunch and dinner hours.

"It's slowed down for lunch and dinner. We don't see as many people out anymore. And we just have to fight for each customer that comes in the door," said Couch.

Besides those people who lost their jobs in Jonesboro's industrial sector, Couch's has laid off 7 people. The barbecue restaurant is down to 28 employees.

"As some of the other factories have closed and cut back, each time they close and cut back, we see it here at Couch's because our business is right here in the industrial area of Jonesboro," said Jayne Stokes.

Stokes has been working at Couch's for 14 years. She said the recipes haven't changed much, but the number of people she serves has.

"Of the people that get laid off, they are losing their lifeline, and by them not being able to contribute to eating out regularly, then that is hurting our lifeline, so it's like a chain reaction," said Stokes.

"It comes down if they don't have a job they're not going to eat out, if they don't eat out, they're not going to leave a tip on the table and if they don't leave a tip on the table I don't pay my bills," said Stokes.