Jul 242007
Authors: Ricki Dugdale

Some Fort Collins’ business can’t wait for the fall semester.

For nine weeks, local business suffers as CSU students leave town. Finding a way to survive the summer becomes top priority for any business dependent on the income provided by students. With students spending about $19 million a month in Fort Collins, the loss of money takes a toll on many small businesses.

Some businesses, like Revolution Donuts on Mulberry Street and Qdoba on Shields Avenue, have even cut their hours over the summer.

And students working over the summer have noticed their workloads lessen this summer.

Andy Foth, 20, has had a little more down time at Pop-A-Lock, a locksmith company in Fort Collins.

“Business has dropped because all the college kids are gone,” Foth said. “They are usually the ones that lock themselves out.”

Restaurants, like Jimmy John’s, are also seeing a decline in their college-aged consumers.

“Dinner time is when we notice a big difference,” senior CSU student Liesl Brcindenbach said. “We get less college students and more families.”

Usually consumed by the amount of students visiting throughout the day because of their location right off of campus, Jimmy John’s employees have had to deal with hours of little to no traffic.

With business slower than they are used to, students still make the best of what they are given.

“There is a difference during the summer compared to the spring but it’s not enough to get mad about,” Foth said.

David May, president and CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce said businesses can expect a couple things when summer comes.

“There are two general impacts: a drop in some types of purchases and a change in work force as some part-time workers leave for the summer,” May said.

Although summer does leave an impact on the smaller businesses around town, larger corporations have been able to skirt around the decrease in sales.

Working at the Fort Collins branch of the United States Department of Agriculture, sophomore biology major Tamara Higgs works on experiments behind the scenes and sees little business endeavors.

Of the endeavors conducted, Higgs has seen minimal business being conducted with the general public.

“We don’t do much business with the public, and so there really hasn’t been a change in the lab,” Higgs said.

With a balance between small business and large corporations, Fort Collins’ economy has managed to maintain itself.

Even though the economic impact has not been quantified, according to May, a general indication that the economy stays afloat is evident.

According to city-data.com, Fort Collins has a balanced economy thanks mostly to the mix of manufacturing and service-related businesses that reside in the city.

Manufacturing companies such as Hewlett Packard, Anheuser-Busch and WaterPik help keep the economy afloat by offering jobs to residents. Being less dependent on college students’ business also allows the manufacturing companies to go on as normal.

Colorado State University and Poudre Valley Hospital contribute more than 10,000 job opportunities between them, according to CNNMoney.com, giving residents job security even when summer comes and business is tight.

When smaller businesses lose their part-time help or must cut back employee numbers to make their profits, the larger companies balance out the losses.

Residents are able to experience a lower cost of living and an increase in household income that leads to an increase in their buying power.

Colorado State University’s research facilities have also made it easier for more companies to relocate to Fort Collins, enabling a greater balance in the economy.

Fort Collins businesses, large and small, and their student employees have managed to overcome the shift in business that occurs over the summer, but fall semester is still eagerly awaited, as students flock to town and business bounces back.

Staff writer Ricki Dugdale can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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