When Miami University students depart campus and venture home for breaks, the small businesses in the uptown district face the prospect of keeping business up without students around to help sales.
Summer and winter breaks are the periods of the year in which uptown business owners see the most slowdown in sales due to the decrease in students on campus who go uptown for shopping, eating and entertainment.
Business during summer break is surprisingly not as slow as many may imagine, according to Economic Development Director for the City of Oxford Alan Kyger.
“It is usually slower around Christmas than summer,” Kyger said. “In the summer, there is still summer school and Miami has a lot of camps and activities that bring other people into town.”
He also said during the holidays some businesses, mainly bars, employ strategies to keep revenue coming in when the students are gone.
“Over Thanksgiving, a few bars have nights called, “Townie Nights,” which attempts to encourage people who are returning to their hometown of Oxford to get out and mix and mingle with other people they may have used to know from home and to catch up with old friends,” Kyger said.
However, not all businesses see a huge slowdown during the holidays or other times when most students are at home on breaks. Some businesses report seeing a spike in revenue, according to Kyger.
“There is a perception that there is little parking available during the school year so people think that because it is break, they can park and go uptown to places like Fiesta Charra or Buffalo Wild Wings, or other places they may not always go very often during the school year,” Kyger said.
Employee Cheri Corcoran of the shop The Apple Tree, agreed that business certainly slows down when students leave for breaks, although it does not slow down too severely and the store still gets a decent amount of business in the summer.
“Business does get slower, but it has actually been really good because of the camps and activities in the summer”, Corcoran said. “It’s been surprisingly good in summer because of orientation but as for Christmas, we’ve done really, really well and the townspeople have been great for shopping.”
Bryan Fries of Bagel and Deli Shop said although business is slower during the winter than the summer during break, there is still a decent amount of business when students leave thanks to people visiting Oxford.
“There’s obviously a larger difference with us being not as busy and we have reduced hours with not as many people working, but we still get business,” Fries said. “We had a lot of people from Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton coming back for the holidays who would come by for a bagel, so we’ve been getting pretty good business.”
Fries said Bagel and Deli reduces its normal working hours much more during winter break compared to the school sessions in the summer.
“It is slower during winter break because during the summer there are some students still around for classes,” Fries said.
Sophomore Drew McCormick said, “It’s inevitable that businesses are going to be slower over the holiday breaks because uptown’s main consumers are the students at the university.”