With students fleeing the frigid weather of Ann Arbor for postcard-like destinations next week, local businesses hope to limit their profit losses while students are away on spring break.
Local businesses in the South University Avenue and South State Street areas are expecting to see a decrease in business, but have prepared for the weeklong slow down. However, some establishments like area bars, are hoping students still in town will cash in next week.
Hope Mleczko, manager of Seva Restaurant on East Liberty Street, said the coincidence of the Ann Arbor school district and the University being on break at the same time is unfortunate for business.
“With the Ann Arbor Public School spring break and the University of Michigan spring break at the same week, it’s very slow, “ Mleczko said.
Despite the potential decline in customers, Mleczko said the same number of employees will be working at the restaurant during the week.
Carmen Fernando, general manager of Ashley’s Pub on South State Street, said the week of spring break is typically slower, but she said the pub will hold special events throughout the week to attract customers.
“Hopefully, focusing on doing beer events and all that will definitely offset any impact that we’re having from the kids that are not in town,” Fernando said.
Stacy Amwake, manager of The Brown Jug on South University Avenue, said even if students’ week off has a negative impact on business, she expects more customers on Monday and Tuesday because students who are still in town won’t have as much school work and will be able to go out.
“It will hurt us a little, but it kind of evens it out. It gives us more businesses on our slow days,” Amwake said.
With the economic recession still affecting the region, businesses might not see as large a decrease in customer traffic as they would if people had more money to spend on vacations or other spring break escapades.
“I noticed actually starting last year, that the impact (of spring break) wasn’t as severe as it’s been in the near past,” Fernando said. “I can’t exactly say why that was. Maybe not as many people were leaving for spring break due to the economy.
She added, “I’m not going to under-staff too much this year just considering that last year was a pretty good spring break for us.”
Dave Jones, owner of White Market on East William Street, said he expects a significant drop in activity next week.
“We figure it’s about 30 to 35 percent less for the week,” Jones said.
The specialty gift store Middle Earth on South University Avenue also anticipates a lull in business, according to the store’s owner Cynthia Shevel, who expects business to decrease about one-third in sales.
“Much of our business is students and other people associated with the University, so if they are not here, it definitely impacts.” Shevel said.
According to a Noodles & Company spokesman Michael Endres, spring break isn’t a major concern for the chain restaurant located on South State Street.
“It’s a little down, but it’s something … that basically we plan for each year,” he said. “It’s nothing that causes a major impact.”