Reporting Rachel Slavik
WATERVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — While lawmakers continue to battle the budget at the Capitol, the shutdown is taking its toll away from St. Paul.
In the resort town of Waterville, its appeal is written into its very name.
“This is how we thrive,” said Pat Scholljegerdes, owner of the Sakatah Bay Resort.
It was the perfect spot for Scholljegerdes to open a small resort that tailors to the fishing community.
“I depend on fishing to come. I really do,” said Scholljegerdes.
July is typically her busiest month of the year, but the Sakatah Bay Resort is dealing with cancellations in the 10-unit resort.
“We lost two customers due to not having fishing licenses from out of state,” she said.
The ripple effect of the shutdown in Minnesota is even having an impact on people from Iowa. One customer screamed at Scholljegerdes when he found out he couldn’t buy a fishing license.
“I will never come back to Minnesota, that’s what they told me. They said, you just ruined my vacation,” said Scholljegerdes, as she recapped a conversation she had with an angry customer.
Many of Waterville’s tourists come from out of state, unaware they won’t be able to buy their license.
“I will lose probably about $2,000 next week,” she said.
It’s not just the loss of fishing business. Waterville sits near Sakatah State Park, a big draw for bikers.
“With that being closed, we’ll be losing customers to that,” Scholljegerdes said.
While she’s is taking a hit now, her biggest concern is how it’ll affect the future.
“If they don’t come here this year, they’ll go someplace else and then they’ll probably not come back here,” Scholljegerdes said.
Seven days into a government shutdown, but the real damage could be felt for years.
When the resorts in Waterville suffer, so do other businesses in town. The restaurants, gas stations and bait shops miss out on the tourist business because of resort cancellations.