T.J. Gentle,CEO of Chattanooga-based Smart Furniture,met with President Barack Obama last week to discuss the impact of the government shutdown on small businesses.

He told Bloomberg Television’s Pimm Foxon about the meeting. Click here to see that interview.

“The uncertainty that is out there in the marketplace right now is causing consumers to delay purchases,” Gentle said. “It’s also causing consumers to make smaller purchases.”


The federal government has been shut down for 14 days now, after members of Congress failed to reach an agreement on the budget.

NBC reported Monday that the shutdown has led to the furlough of350,000 federal workers.

The stalemate started because House Republicans don’t want a new spending bill to include funding for theAffordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

But, now-as the United States moves closer to defaulting on its debt-leaders must come to an agreement on whether to raise the debt ceiling in addition to passing a spending bill.

Gentle said that when he spoke directly with the president, they discussed the idea of punting a longer-term debt ceiling decision six more weeks. But that means the potential for another stalemate and shutdown in the middle of the holiday season.

“As a retailer and Internet retailer, the thought of going through this again six weeks from now seemscatastrophic,” Gentle said.

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