Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Local businesses bend but don’t break in summer

Tuscaloosa retailers and restaurants are fighting to survive the summer, when students, who make up a majority of their profits, have fled the city.

Some stores are lucky enough to have a regular local clientele to keep business in shape.

“During the daytime and early evening hours, there’s not been much of a change in business,” Marie Eddins, a junior majoring in nursing who works at TCBY near Midtown, said. “The TCBY at Midtown primarily serves residents of Tuscaloosa. Students seemed to have primarily fueled the late night business, at least at our location.”

Restaurants and retailers closer to campus seem to experience a more dramatic decrease in sales during the summer months.

Jared Lovett, the general manager at Moe’s Southwest Grill on the Strip, said his store feels the summer crunch.

“There’s a slight decrease in the lunchtime shift, but a sharp decline in dinner time business,” he said. “It’s just kind of an understood thing that May will be slow.”

Sassy Britches, a clothing retailer located on the Strip, also experiences a dramatic decrease in sales, especially during the month of May, according to Kelsey Carpenter, the manager of the boutique.

Carpenter noted summer activities, such as Bama Bound and various camps at the University, help during the slow summer months.

“Orientations help business by bringing more and new students to campus,” Carpenter said, though the majority of their customer base during the summer comes from locals.

Some businesses attempt to make up for lack of students by pushing advertising or having sales or student deals in order to attract spending from the students left on campus.

“We run so many sales and do a lot of Facebook advertising, and we do radio advertisements,” Carpenter said.

Lovett said Moe’s actually just depends on the regulars during the summer for business.

“We’ve done a couple promotions, but really, we have a few regulars that keep everything up,” he said. “We’ll probably start more promotions the closer we get to school starting.”

As for TCBY, Eddins said she is not aware of any specific attempts to bring in more students, but there are always promotions and coupons circulating. However, she noted those are normally geared towards bringing in local families.

According to economics professor William Aldridge, business, just like everything else in nature, is cyclical. A business that properly prepares for the economically dry summer should be fine.

“Businesses that understand the dormant season in Tuscaloosa and plan accordingly will do fine,” Aldridge said. “Those that do not will make way for others that do.”

So, in this professor’s opinion, what is the key to summer survival?

“Survival in business is to remain flexible to changing tides but have a strong working capital base to weather unexpected storms,” Aldridge said.


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