Downtown businesses feel pinch when campus clears


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Graduation has passed and some graduates aren’t wasting any time moving out of their dorms.

When campuses clear for the summer it can be a big adjustment for Terre Haute businesses.

J. Gumbo’s on Wabash is already preparing for the end of another semester, but not in the way you might think.

“It’s a little scary because you never know from day to day if you are going to be busy or slow. Say you have three people working and then you have to cut one back so they lose their hours,” said Shawna Webster, Manager at J. Gumbo’s.

When students head home for the summer there are more empty chairs and tables, Webster says, that can add up to 40% loss in sales.

“We see a big pickup when they are moving out and graduating, but as soon as they’re gone we don’t see a lot of them anymore.”

The good news is, it’s not all bad news, especially for people who stay in town during the summer.

“We get the families in. We offer family specials. We offer daily specials to try to pull people in, and we actually had a band or two come in to see if that would draw more people,” said Webster.

Just a couple of stores down, Yogurt in Love is also relying on groups other than the college crowd.

“We’re looking forward to our families coming in. We’re looking forward to the sports teams after their games to come in,” said Nichelle Campbell, Shift Manager at Yogurt in Love.

This will be their first summer in business.

So far this spring, they haven’t seen a lack of people searching for a sweet treat.

“People are asking for it, so we give people what they want, and we’re now open on Sundays,” said Campbell.

Hoping for an extra scoop of business all summer, bringing people to the heart of downtown.

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