Businesses brace for break

By Susan Kantor

This week, students at the University will pack up nine months of memories from dorm rooms, apartments, sorority or fraternity houses and head home for the summer. The campus will empty with summer school students occupying the space approximately 40,000 students occupy throughout the regular school year.

With new businesses in Campustown open for only a few months and other veteran businesses open for years, many will see a substantial drop in sales in the coming summer months.

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Open since February, Bar Louie, 510 E. John St., has had an excellent experience with the Champaign-Urbana community, said Brian Zych, general manager for Bar Louie. Their variety of food and great martini selection are what students and faculty have been drawn to these past few months, he said.

“Business is going to be a little bit slower, but I think we are still going to have a good business this summer,” Zych said.

Another new addition to Campustown this spring is Cold Stone Creamery, 505 E. Green St. Cold Stone experienced a record opening for Cold Stone stores in Illinois, said Eric Bussell, owner of the Champaign Cold Stone. On the store’s opening day, it partnered with Relay for Life to donate half of the day’s ice cream sales to cancer research, totaling more than $2,300.

Bussell said they are expecting business to drop during the summer, but some Champaign-Urbana residents are intrigued by the store.

“We have a lot of positive indications that the Champaign residents are waiting for the students to leave before they come try Cold Stone,” Bussell said.

Qdoba Mexican Grill, 617 E. Green St., is also expecting a drop-off in sales this summer.

“Our business drops,” said Robert Cabrera, regional operator for Qdoba. “(Business) is not the same as when students are here. We are land-locked in Campustown and there is not a lot of parking, so the townies really don’t come in here.”

Qdoba reduces its staff as well as its hours to accommodate the change in crowds.

One World Pizza, 508 E. Green St., usually sees a 50 percent or greater decrease in sales during the summer, said Amalia Thompson, manager and owner of One World Pizza. The drop in expenses helps in this slow time.

“The bar crowds definitely drops down,” Thompson said. “We go from over 100 pizzas after the bars let out to maybe only about 10 when there are no summer sessions.”

The staff of One World will focus on creating new pizza flavors, such as a Korean style pizza, to stand out and attract different cultures, Thompson said.

“We have a good time during the summer,” Cabrera said. “We work a lot when school is in session, but when the students take a break, we take a break as well.”