Every Monday afternoon I go off campus to walk downtown and grab dinner.
A four-hour break is a long time and I often find myself with nothing to do.
I go to sit down and enjoy a meal at a local business and brainstorm about what I should write about in the latest issue of Erie Square Gazette.
While I sat at the table, I looked around and realized that there were a limited amount of SC4 students around in local businesses.
The businesses that are on the main drag of Port Huron are only a possible three-minute walk away from campus, but it seems that more students will opt for other places.
Whether it is 24th street and their plethora of fast food options, or their own home, it is apparent that local businesses and the entrepreneurs that run them are struggling.
Kate Voss, the founder of Kate’s Downtown Café admits that the amount of student traffic isn’t up to par.
“I think that once you’re out of class students just want to go home or have to work, and students are usually hurting on cash.” Voss said.
According to Voss, she doesn’t see fast food restaurants being the enemy when it comes to student decisions.
Scott Beedon, the owner and founder of Round Island Sweet Shoppe has seen the detrimental effects of slow student traffic as well.
“We know there is a presence, but being around our first year we would like to see more traffic,” Beedon said.
The low amount of students that seem to flow through the downtown areas could be credited to many things, but the small businesses are trying their best to branch out.
Most local businesses offer a Skipper One Card discount that ranges from 10-15% off purchases when you present the cashier with the card.
Although I can try and play the blame game on different causes, it seems that not every small business is hurting in the area.
Casey Harris, owner of the popular pizza restaurant, Casey’s Pizza, seems to see a fair share of students coming in around lunchtime.
“At lunch hour we see a lot of student traffic in here, we offer a 15% off Skipper One discount and we see that popping up a lot!” said Harris.
The new patio addition at Casey’s Pizza has brought in a new crowd and really changed the feel of the completely original pizza parlor.
Local businesses, especially the ones around Port Huron, are fresh experiences apart from the typical fast food chain restaurant, and I would recommend that everybody give them a chance, because you never know what you will find.