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Everett business fears its fate as COVID-19 and Boeing 787 move threaten local economy

“There isn’t a family in Everett that isn’t impacted by losses at Boeing,” said the city's Mayor Cassie Franklin.

EVERETT, Wash. — Snohomish County and Everett executives reacted to the news of Boeing’s decision to move 787 production out of Everett and the possible loss of 900 local jobs by mid-2021.

“The impact of losing the 787 here in Everett will be deeply felt throughout our community. We have been home to The Boeing Company and its workers and families for more than 50 years and Boeing has helped shape our character and culture as a city,” Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said.

While Gov. Jay Inslee called the decision an “insult” to the hard-working employees of Boeing, Franklin and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers instead blamed the coronavirus for putting the company in a tough position.

“We believe very strongly that we want to be, continue to be good partners with Boeing Company. We understand the horrible economic realities of what they are facing as a company and the entire aerospace and many other businesses in this pandemic. So, we’re going to remain positive and do everything we can to support the families, the workers and the company,” Somers said.

The Boeing Company, which has 70,000 jobs in Washington state, will continue to manufacture the 737, 747, 767 and 777 in this area.

State Rep. JT Wilcox, the Republican leader of the State House of Representatives, posted to Facebook that the relocation of the 787 production line to South Carolina would result in the loss of 900 jobs in Washington state, according to the Associated Press.

“We have the largest number of aerospace jobs here in Everett and we will work to grow them back to the levels that we would like to see. Boeing isn’t leaving and this isn’t a betrayal, this is a company making a decision, a really difficult decision in unprecedented times,” Franklin said.

Most of their focus turned to working to save the already struggling economy in Everett and Snohomish County.

“There isn’t a family in Everett that isn’t impacted by losses at Boeing,” Franklin said. “There’s a ripple effect across industries so it’s not just the number of planes that are going down that are that we’re producing in the city. It’s the retail and restaurants and all the other sectors that will be impacted.”

One of those businesses is Golden Fleece Billiards.

Owner David Bersanadze took out loans, put his lifeblood into opening his dream business, Golden Fleece Billiards in downtown Everett at the start of 2020.

“Three months, after three months, corona happened,” Bersanadze said.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Washington state they closed their doors to comply with state mandates.

They’re now open as a bar, but Inslee’s phased approach to reopening the state doesn’t allow for playing pool in Phase 2, where Snohomish County has been since June.

“This is our business. A pool hall without pool tables cannot survive,” Bersanadze said.

He even wrote a letter to the governor explaining how his 9,000-square-foot building space could allow for proper social distancing, but to no avail, they are still not allowed to fully reopen, pool tables and all.

Adding fuel to the fire is Boeing’s announcement that 900 jobs in Washington state will be lost as they move 787 Dreamliner production out of Everett.

“Of course it’s going to hurt our business a lot because we have lots of people coming from Boeing, having parties and play pool, lots of good players too,” he said.

Bersanadze refuses to lose hope in his business.

 “We are going to do everything to survive and keep our doors open because we put everything, my house, anything we had, everything is here,” he said.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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