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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA-area businesses might not be hiring, but others in Tucson are

Amanda Betz from El Inde Arizona
A few businesses around Main Gate Square on University Boulevard.

As soon as the University of Arizona semester winded to a close, Tucson businesses scrambled as students left campus, taking with them a large part of the restaurant and retail work force, as well as much of the traffic downtown businesses depend on.

Students with cars can easily land a summer job in Tucson, but if you are looking for something close to the university, you might be out of luck. Not many near-campus businesses are hiring due to the lack of students over the summer. 

University Boulevard retail worker Rana Mustafa said the summer can be tough for businesses near campus. She spent two years at Pitaya and another seven months at her current job at Swindlers, both boutiques on the campus-adjacent strip, and she’s seen some slow summers. 

On top of shortening operating hours, Swindlers plans to close the entire week of the Fourth of July because it’s just not worth it to pay workers to keep open a shop that only gets a handful of customers a day, Mustafa said. 

There also will be fewer workers when they are open. Swindlers normally has two to three employees on each shift, but that number goes down to one per shift from late May to early August, according to Mustafa.

Despite the shortened hours and on-shift staff, though, Mustafa said she doesn’t expect to lose too many hours. Between three employees graduating and more heading home, she said around 10 employees will part from the staff for the summer. 

RELATED: UA staff shortage affects quality of campus life during the pandemic

Pitaya is also taking a hit to their staff. Leah Britton, a UA sophomore and sales associate at Pitaya, said the store’s staff was losing a handful of people to graduation and to students leaving for the summer.

The store, however, had a round of hiring before school ended, so their new hires were ready to go once summer really set in on campus. 

While University Boulevard might not have “Help Wanted” signs out, some Tucson businesses are eager to hire. 

Sofia Lanan, a UA sophomore and a host at the Reforma Modern Mexican restaurant in St. Philip’s Plaza, is staying over the summer; however, she said around 10 other hosts are leaving. 

“It’s really not that many,” Lanan said, considering the lack of traffic over the summer months when students aren’t a 10-minute Uber ride away. 

Kendall Watson, who has worked at Reforma for nine months, is one of those leaving. She just graduated and will be moving away.

Watson said that although her employers were aware they were hiring students and knew many would leave when school wasn’t in session, they were still surprised by the lack of staffing over the winter and spring breaks. 

“Our manager was like, ‘I’m never hiring students again,’” Watson said. 

*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

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