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Longtime local businesses see economy improving

By Joe Dashiell, jdashiell@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jul 31 2013 06:44:05 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 31 2013 10:58:16 PM EDT

The U.S. economy grew at annual rate of 1.7 percent during the second quarter.

ROANOKE, Va. -

Bush-Flora Shoes, Oakey's Funeral Service and Crematory and Davidson's Clothing for Men have all weathered economic storms over the last century. And while they have also felt the effects of the most recent recession, all three say they are seeing signs of an improving economy.

The summer sale at Bush Flora has been bringing customers through the door. Despite losing some business to bad weather early in the year, owner Artie Bush says things are looking up. "It's been slowly growing with the exception of some early season weather issues with snow," Bush told us, "but it's been good otherwise."

Sammy Oakey says he's cautiously optimistic. Page views on the company's website have doubled since last year. And consumers are spending more. "What we're seeing is slow but steady increase in what consumers are spending here, and that's been going on for about a year and a half almost two years now," Oakey said in an interview. "And it's not a spike, but it's certainly a step in the right direction."

Davidson's is having its best year in a decade, says owner Larry Davidson, as customers who've put off purchases are updating their wardrobes. "There is no question that the mood of the public is much more positive now than we have seen in any of the past few years," Davidson said.

Despite those encouraging signs, Davidson says he is apprehensive about next year, concerned that dysfunction in Washington and economic problems in other countries could slow the economic progress here.