When breaks come around, the Downtown Elon shops lose key customers: Elon students. Even when classes are not in session, local businesses remain open to local customers. To survive, those businesses need to get creative in order to profit while students are gone.
“This will actually only be our second summer with the Internet. I am hoping that this is going to continue into the summer. I think it will, I think we’ll see a really great increase,” explained Michaelle Graybeal, the owner of the downtown Greek apparel store All That Jas.
She credits the internet as one of the ways the store has been able to stay profitable even during the slow summer business season.
“We’re recession proof,” Graybeal said, “Students are great customers.”
Next door to the shop is Town Table, a popular restaurant for many Elon students. Even when work days are slow the staff at the restaurant still prep and serve food the same way everyday.
“We never anticipate a day that’s going to be slow,” Manager Zackery Larid said. “We’re always ready for the business to be flowing in.”
The newest addition to the Downtown area is Local Yogurt. The frozen yogurt shop has only been open for a little more than a month and, while, it has seen dips in sales during spring and Easter breaks, it has not yet experienced the summer season.
“We have eight employees and six of them will be here over the summer. So I’m sure things will kind of slow down with the students,” Manager Mackenzie Brown said. ”However I’m planning to do a couple profit shares with the elementary schools so that way we get more local business.”
Downtown Elon can be a great place to set up a shop, but to survive the summer, businesses need to be creative when they market themselves. They tend to switch from focusing on just students, to making their services more appealing to all local customers.