Cronkite Summer Journalism Institute 2012
Businesses lose about half of their business when the Arizona State University (ASU) students leave campus for the summer.
During the school year, Downtown Phoenix is filled with about 1,300 ASU students. Throughout the school year, these students can be seen at the campus hot spots located in or around campus buildings.
According to the ASU website, 72,254 students attended in the fall of 2011, with 17,151 on the downtown campus. Most of these students return home for the summer, taking their money with them.
Therefore, the constant flow of customers sizably decreases when campus residents move out for the summer. Many small businesses that surround the campus depend on the revenue provided by ASU students.
Due to the lack of steady success, some of these businesses come up with different solutions to this issue. For example, Subway, Starbucks and Java City shorten hours.
Subway, which is built in to the Cronkite Building, shortens its hours.
“ASU students provide for two-thirds of our business,” Manager Brian Smith said, “We cut down on hours during the summer because we lose two-thirds of all our business.”
Subway makes an effort to compensate for the decline in customers.
“We try to put out as many sales, coupons and deals as we can,” Smith said. “Basically any $5 foot-long will get us more customers, so we try to do those as often as we can.”
Though Subway relies heavily on the flow of students, frequent customers outside of ASU continue to make purchases during the summer. Both the Corner Cafe and Pizza Hut maintain their usual hours year round.
Just one block from Taylor Place, Pizza Hut gains a significant portion of their business from ASU, but does not alter its hours during the summer. “Our business is about 50-50. Half from the [ASU] students,” Pizza Hut employee Rico Sanchez said. “They provide for most of the carry-out orders. But we don’t change our hours at all when they’re [students] gone.”
Yvette Castro, a student at ASU as well as an employee at the Corner Cafe, compares the amount of business over a period of nine months.
“We don’t change our hours during the summer because our business is an even amount of [ASU] students and business related customers,” Castro said. “Even though we do get a lot of business from the students, it doesn’t hurt us drastically. We try to prepare for our busy hours as best we can to serve as many customers in a certain amount of time.”
Unlike Subway, the Corner Cafe and Pizza Hut, the minimart located on the ground floor of Taylor Place has closed completely for the summer. Although these locations derived various solutions to the decrease in student population, they can revert to their normal schedules as classes resume in the fall.
-Tynin Fries, Photo Editor