EDGEWATER — An Edgewater businessman blames a nearly 20 percent slowdown at his pizzeria on the federal government shutdown and hopes to boost sales with a new promotion.
Pizzeria Aroma owner Jim Dababneh sent an email to customers on Wednesday with the subject line — "Screw These Politicians!!" — complaining that, "These so-called leaders play games in Washington while regular people like us suffer."
"In the meantime, they still get their perks, their steak dinners, and their salaries. What a croc," the email said. "Since the government shutdown, our business has been down between 15-17 [percent]. Why? Because uncertainty leads people to spend less and do less."
He's offering 18 percent off all online orders of $22 or more through Friday to encourage more business.
Dababneh told DNAinfo Chicago he's been in business "long enough to know that people's spending, their habits, a lot of it is psychological."
"It may not have a direct correlation with what their income is that month or how their 401(k) is doing that month, but when there's consumer confidence or a sense of wellness, people spend more," he said. "When there is a sense of uncertainty, they hold back."
Before reaching an agreement to end the shutdown late Wednesday, politicians in D.C. had been stuck in a 16-day partisan impasse, with Republican lawmakers pushing to delay funding the government and raising the federal debt ceiling unless President Barack Obama's health care law was gutted or repealed.
Dababneh, who said he follows the news and studied political science in college but was "not an ideological person by any means," promised that "the promotion is still on," regardless of what happens in D.C.
"I hope as many customers as possible take advantage of it," he said.
The businessman has a background in small-market radio journalism and corporate sales and has shown a penchant for communicating with customers. In July, he sent customers an email offering them discounts to boost orders during a summer slowdown at his shop.
Debabneh's latest email featured a picture of a distraught-looking House Speaker John A. Boehner, and a picture of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid flipping the bird — juxtaposed on opposite sides of the United States Capitol building in D.C.
To use the 18 percent off discount, order online here and type "theDC18" in the promotional code box when you check out.