13th Avenue business slows during breaks
As students head home to spend the holidays with their loved ones, putting school out of their mind, local businesses on 13th Ave. must continue to meet sale goals. This can prove to be relatively difficult due to the fact that most of their clientele are students who tend to go out of town.
According to the University of Oregon, 81 percent of freshmen students reside on campus. After freshman year, many move into apartments neighboring the University of Oregon, which makes 13th Ave. a convenient place to shop.
“Students are our main customer base, so it’s always a bit of a shock to see 13th so empty,” American Apparel manager Neil Bailey said.
Bailey has been an employee of the campus branch of American Apparel for four years now, working as manager since July. He is quite familiar with the trends that come with a store that is virtually on a college campus and he knows what he has to do in order to plan ahead.
“We usually try to do some promotions before all the students leave to boost sales,” Bailey said.
American Apparel is not the only store to see a change in business according to the academic calendar.
“Breaks are difficult. You have to budget well,” Caspian Mediterranean Café owner Elhaam Yazdi said.
For some, winter break sees the slowest sales all year.
“Specifically winter break is the worst,” Yazdi said. “Summer is okay for us. I feel like students always go home for winter because of the holidays.”
Though traffic is undeniably slow, not all businesses agree on its effect on retail.
“Winter break is slow but nothing compared to the summer months,” Bailey said. “Our sales drop drastically, and the amount of foot traffic is much slower. Luckily, spring break isn’t too different from normal though.”
Although these stores and restaurants have certain times of year that they are hindered, they also have certain times that they benefit tremendously because of the fact that they serve college students.
“The winter holidays are busy too, but nothing like the week before Halloween,” Bailey said.
At Caspian, it seems to be relatively similar.
“I would have to say we see more students in fall and spring term when school is in session,” Yazdi said.
Other stores, like The Duck Store, think of break as one of their busy seasons because of students and Duck fans who buy apparel as gifts for the holidays. “It does slow down, however we tend to stay busy over the holiday season as people are getting their last minute gifts and bowl game apparel,” Duck Store Marketing Director Katie Conway said.
Campus businesses are dealing with a variable location where student traffic fluctuates by the season. According to managers, it’s a practice that requires plenty of forethought.
“When you’re making money during the time that it’s not break, you have to remember that it’s not all profit,” Yazdi said. “Know that you need to save a lot of that away for the slow seasons.”
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