Students keep local restaurants business

Sid Weigand noticed a slight decline in sales at his Smoothie King franchise last year.

He said his supplement sales were lower than normal as a result of the recession although his smoothie sales remained consistent.

The economic recession has forced store owners close to campus to get creative and find ways to stay ahead during difficult economic times.

Becky Barton, a supervisor at Dutch’s, said she’s noticed a dip in sales as a result of the recession. But she said returning customers have kept Dutch’s successful and specials and student discounts made food more affordable for students.

Barton said the environment of her restaurant attracted students that used the restaurant as an alternative place to study during testing times because of the free wireless internet.

“We just try to make it a warm atmosphere for people to hang out,” she said.

Weigand said over half of his customers were university students.

Andrew MacNeal, a junior finance and accounting major, said affordability made Dutch’s a valuable, which was important for saving money during the recession.

Ty Pickens, a freshman business major, said Frog Bucks created incentive for students to spend money at restaurants close to campus because many of the restaurants that take Frog Bucks were close to the university.

Proximity to campus also made nearby restaurants appealing to students.

Stephanie Taylor, a freshman nursing major, said the convenience of having the restaurants so close to the university kept students going to restaurants near campus.

“I know for a fact I don’t want to give up my main campus parking spot and end up in over flow,” she said.

Taylor said she also wanted to eat where her friends did and since so many of her friends dined near campus, she ate at restaurants near the university.

Weigand said he believed a reason his sales did not decrease further was because of the importance people place on health. He said people preferred to cut their budgets in other areas before reducing the amount spent on health items including smoothies or supplements.