Campus businesses affected by national economic crisis

By Grace Rebekah Kenney

As has been expected, the United States’ current economic crisis has begun to affect the businesses and job-seeking students of Champaign-Urbana. These effects have already been seen in the increasing number of businesses closing or moving location.

Solar Tan of Green Street recently closed, yet another tanning salon moved into the same location. Don Kermath, the owner of Classic Tan, said that the reasons leading to business closure are many. Having too much overhead, leasing too much space, hiring too many employees and borrowing too much money are all factors, Kermath said.

“But the biggest mistake many companies make is not continuing to advertise,” he added.

Location is also important, and businesses often forget that the business year is different on a college campus.

“It’s a seven and a half month business, with twelve months of expenses,” Kermath said.

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Jack Chicone, owner of Undercover on Fifth, said he has not noticed as much of a change in business as he expected.

“We’re trying to cut a few more deals here and there,” Chicone said. “And we’re being a little more careful as in ordering.”

Chicone has noticed a drop in credit cards used and customers comparing prices, but isn’t worried about having to close anytime soon.

“I think the University really helps protect local businesses,” he said.

Although business may not be booming now, students will find it harder to get jobs. Green Street has seen fewer “Now Hiring” signs in windows as compared to the beginning of the fall semester.

“Positions refill quickly,” said Bob Monti, owner of Papa Del’s on Green Street. “More people are applying for jobs, but we’re still hiring the same amount as usual.”

Monti also noted that most of his employees from last semester returned, leaving little room for new job seekers.

However bars might even have better business during the upcoming semesters. Doug Larson, president of Joe’s Brewery, said that typically alcohol and makeup sales are reversed during times of economic crisis.

“Home drinking has gone up,” Larson said. “But last semester was one of our best semesters ever.”