Long Lines and Big Profits

16 years ago Comments Off on Long Lines and Big Profits

With students returning to school, many area businesses are making up for lost profits suffered during the holidays. During Christmas, with much of their customer base home for the holidays, many area businesses experienced a loss in sales, some as much as 60 percent. Not only bars, but restaurants and grocery stores felt the effects as well. Some local restaurants, such as the China House, went so far as to close for the holidays.”When you have 12,000 students leave town you feel it,” said Philip Johnson, manager of Papa John’s. “It definitely makes an impact.”Johnson, who reported a 50-60 percent loss in sales over the winter break, said students play a big factor in his business.”Many employees want to go home for the holidays,” he said. “This year wasnt as bad as in the past but we lose employees when school is out.”HEB, a local grocery store, felt the effects of the holidays as well.”There was definitely an impact,” said Assistant Store Director Robert Stone. “Because holidays are generally a busy time for grocery stores, we did not suffer. But because we are so close to campus, we did miss student business.”HEB employees are about 40 percent students. Twenty percent went home for the holidays.”Because we are slower we dont replace the students,” Stone said. “It evens out with less employees and less business.” Sneed Wheelers Texas Roadhouse and Brewery suffered losses as well.”We definitely lost customers,” said co-owner Gary Heyne. “But Christmas wasnt as dismal as I thought it would be.”The Roadhouse lost about 60 percent of its customers last summer over the break.”Christmas wasn’t near as bad,” Heyne said. “We had only been open for a few months before school let out for summer so not many people knew about us. The people who stayed in town over the Christmas holidays knew we were here and they came.”Heyne said the Roadhouse misses most of its customers during weekends. “Local bars need to be allowed to stay open until 2 a.m. on weekends,” Heyne said. “Many students travel to Houston to party because they can stay out later. We would have more business if students would stay in town.”Casa Tomas, one of several Mexican restaurants in town, agreed that business was slower.”Our bar business was substantially effected,” said manager Charlie Stevens. “Usually students come to the bar to hang out and we missed that over the break.”Stevens said the restaurant was not as effected as much.”We lost about 10 percent of our restaurant business,” Stevens said. “The biggest loss was at the bar.”Not all businesses suffered losses during the holidays.”We were busier during the break than during the school year,” said Brandie Standley, assistant general manager of Texas Burger. “Because we are on the interstate, many of our customers are travelers. A lot of people travel during the holidays so our business improved.”Though some businesses experienced increased holiday sales, most business managers agreed they make more money during the regular school year.”Of course college students have an effect on businesses,” ohnson said. “But if you live and die with the college (customers) you will eventually die. You cant depend on college kids only.”