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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Start of classes boosts nearby businesses

    As UA students continue to get settled into their apartments, homes and dorm rooms, their presence has already provided a noticeable boost to the Tucson economy.

    As any new semester begins, it is accompanied by an inevitable rise in revenue for local businesses, said Tony Vaccaro, owner of Brooklyn Pizza, 534 N. Fourth Ave.

    John Sedwick, executive director of the Fourth Avenue Merchant Association said that returning college students have a substantial economic influence within the university area.

    The combination of a fluctuating student population and the extreme summer temperatures leads to decreased revenues by local businesses between the middle of May and the end of August, Sedwick said.

    “”[Business] tends to pick up in the later part of September and early October, after students have begun to settle in,”” he said.

    Since the beginning of August, Brooklyn Pizza’s business has already increased its revenue by roughly 20 percent, but Vaccaro said he believes that the weather has nothing to do with his recent increases in business.

    “”If business is up 20 percent, and it is still hot, then it must not be the weather,”” he said.

    Vaccaro has found that there are two traditional spikes in revenue that occur in August. The first bump occurs when the Tucson Unified School District starts classes, and the second occurs when the UA starts.

    The university had about 26,000 fewer students during the 2008 summer semester when compared to the 2008 spring semester, according to recent UA registration statistics.

    Alex Murphy, a mathematics sophomore, said that he spends roughly $200 a month on anything from fast food to school supplies.

    If every one of the additional 26,000 students present in this fall semester spend even half of what Murphy spends per month, it would come out to $2.6 million being put into the economy each month.

    Student-generated funds play an extremely important role in the area surrounding the UA, Sedwick said. Murphy echoed that belief.

    “”There are a lot of places close by (the UA) that cater to students,”” Murphy said. “”They probably don’t get much business during the summer.””

    Vaccaro said that his business was a rarity during the summer months in that they were able to continue to produce high revenues despite the smaller student population.

    “”We don’t rely off of the student business that much,”” Vaccaro added. “”I don’t know how many other businesses in the area feel that way about their business.””

    Kaleena Harris, executive team leader of El Con Mall Target, 3699 E. Broadway Blvd., said that her store definitely notices the increased student population.

    “”In the weeks before school and the weeks leading up to school, we see a huge difference in the amount of traffic (that the store gets),”” Harris said.

    With the increased amount of student-generated funds entering the economy, more jobs are also created.

    Increased business leads to an increase in the number of employees for such businesses as Brooklyn Pizza, Vaccaro said.

    “”As students come back (and spend money in the area), some of our student employees come back,”” Vaccaro said, “”so it coincides nicely.””

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