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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Small business owners across the country and on the First Coast are concerned about the effect the fiscal cliff will have on their businesses if it's not avoided.

Mitch Lyford and his wife Sherry run River City Gourmet Shop at The Jacksonville Landing. He says he has already seen less spending by shoppers in the past month, and blames it on the uncertainty with the economy and the lack of action in Washington.

"We were probably last Christmas to this Christmas, down 25 to 30 percent, business that we had last year we did not see this year," Lyford said.

With the uncertainty, Lyford says he won't be hiring anyone, and he is worried the economy may go back to what it was three or four years ago if the fiscal cliff is not avoided.

"It seems like there's no compromise, it's one side or the other," Lyford said.

Doug Gaston, the owner of Sundrez at the Landing, explained his frustration with political leaders in Washington.

"People are just going to quit spending money until they know what tomorrow is going to be like," he said. "Until Washington can tell us what tomorrow is going to be like, everybody is going to be nervous and they will take a wait and see attitude."

Gaston is preparing for what he hopes is a huge Gator Bowl and New Year's Eve crowd. Sundrez sells New Year's party favors.

He is concerned about the spending in Jacksonville drying up in the upcoming year but knows the politicians in Washington could change all that.

"They can certainly create a lot of optimism and hope, no question about it if they would just do their jobs like they expect all the other Americans to do their jobs," Gaston said.

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