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Decatur-- As the fiscal cliff negotiations continue, many of those watching are losing patience. Small business owners are no exception. They say they're used to dealing with different kinds of stress, be they changes in the markets, local spending habits, or budgeting for an uncertain year. But they say they don't appreciate stress that could be easily avoided.

"There's a great deal of uncertainty out there right now, which as a business owner is unpleasant," said Little Shop of Stories co-owner Dave Shallenberger.

Shallenberger is waiting to see how the paychecks of his employees will be affected. He said he's also focused on what could come next if a deal fails to take shape. His Decatur children's bookstore just finished fighting through the last recession. If a failure in fiscal talks leads to another recession, he's not sure they'd make it.

"It really put us in a very tight spot for a good 18 months before we started feeling comfortable and optimistic again," Shallenberger said of the 2007 recession. "I don't particularly want to go back there."

Next door at Vivid Boutique, co-owner Floyd Smith said they enjoyed "very merry" Christmas sales. But he's worried that even if the impact of the fiscal cliff isn't as bad as it's reported to be, it wouldn't matter.

"Even if the impact isn't real, the perceived impact could cause us to have a dropoff in sales," Smith said.

Congressional leaders have promised to huddle through the weekend to try to come up with a deal by the New Year.

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