Avon Lake Ford Assembly Plant layoffs also affect area businesses

LORAIN, Ohio - Athena's Restaurant  has been serving the Avon Lake area for the past 17 years. News of coming layoffs at the Ford Ohio Assembly Plant just a couple of miles down the road was not welcome news for owner Peter Diamantis.

"Hearing this latest news," said Diamantis, "that they're going to lose half of their force, and I'm sure they're probably half of what they used to be. It's not really good for everybody out in the Avon Lake area."

General Manager Shirley Aslanis has seen this before and knows the loss of hundreds of jobs won't just affect Ford workers.

"It spreads right on down to the entire community. They were going to buy new clothes, they're not going to do that anymore. They're going to conserve everything."

Aslanis said eventually Athena's staff will feel the effects.

"They're certainly not going to go out to eat. They're not going to go to the movies. They're not going to go to any of those places that all depend on our jobs."

Diamantis recalled layoffs of years past.

"In 2008, a lot of people got laid off, a lot of people lost their jobs. And all of a sudden, people that you'd see once or twice a week, or once a day, daily, just stop coming. Then you'd see them and 'What happened?' 'No work, no money.'"

Maureen Quinlan serves by day and manages at Athena's by night. She said patron tips help her and other servers to boost their income. But when customers stop showing up, so do the tips.

"They have to be able to pay their bills also. If you're not making the tips, how are you going to pay your bills?"

Diamantis said the coming layoffs at Ford keep him cautious about investing in his business.

"We've tapered off a little bit too, as far as hiring, cause there's that uncertainty ever since 2008. They keep saying the economy is getting better, but we're just not seeing it all that much."

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