The Cleveland Stater is published online and in print by students enrolled in the School of Communication at Cleveland State University.
The Innerlink: A CLASS Publication
Local businesses fight through summer grind
Fewer CSU students equal less commerce for businesses around campus
BY NICK CAMINO
As owners, general managers and employees all expected, business is once again down at a few popular restaurants on and around campus at Cleveland State University, following a three-year trend.
Some of the most prominent places for students to hang out, grab a bite to eat or even enjoy a drink around the CSU downtown campus are all experiencing a familiar decrease in business because the majority of students are off for the summer semester.
The low revenue in the summer has come to be expected, co-owner of Café Ah-Roma Michael Hostutler said.
“We are not upset about having less business in the summer, that’s just how it is,” Hostutler explained. “However, due to having less business, we are forced to make the proper adjustments for the summer. When school is out we reduce staff as well as inventory to accommodate for the low number of people coming in to the restaurant.”
The amount of sales at Café Ah-Roma has dropped 25 percent ever since the CSU spring semester ended, Hostutler added.
“It is the same thing every year with nearly identical numbers,” Hostutler said. “We rely heavily on CSU, and we know when the students are finally back from vacation we will be fine.”
“September is our best month,” Hostutler said laughing. “It can’t come any sooner.”
Just down the street, Rascal House Pizza is also feeling the effects of having fewer customers in the area.
A couple of different things factor into why business is down at the Rascal House, General Manager Chuck Leggett explained.
“The Euclid Corridor project did not help, school being out in the summer hurts and the overall state of the economy right now all factor into it,” Leggett said. “We expected slow business, and while things are not terrible, they could be better.”
There is no more real flow of traffic, Leggett said.
“With the buses and the construction of the new student center, the flow of traffic that used to come through has really been eliminated,” Leggett said.
While Rascal House Pizza is missing CSU students, some things have helped this summer, Leggett said.
“CSU has had basketball and volleyball camps this summer, so a lot of the kids attending those have stopped in for lunch, which is real nice,” Leggett said. “And many of the construction workers who are working on the new student center come by a lot to grab some pizza so that has helped too.”
A brief check at Becky’s on East 18th Street appears it has slowed down with business as well this summer.
Nights are slower than usual, but the afternoons have virtually the same amount of business, one bartender who wished to remain anonymous, said.
“We are open most nights until 2:30 a.m. and most times that is when you see college kids from the university,” the bartender said. “Some summer nights have definitely been slower.”
With just one month before the fall semester begins, the co-owner and general manager are still excited about the summer and the next few months.
“We still have a lot of CSU faculty and staff coming in, which is great,” Café Ah-Roma’s Hostutler said with a smile. “And no matter what time of year, our lunch hour from noon to 1:00 p.m. is always packed with people who want a great lunch.”
“For the students that are down here at CSU, they know they get great deals,” Leggett said, referring to the 12 percent discount CSU students get with any purchase at the Rascal House. “We are excited for the fall and winter because this is a fun place to be. We are looking into having some pre-game parties for basketball games and other events, so we expect business to be back and booming when the students get back on campus at the end of August.”
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