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Storrs Center businesses prep for summer slow down

By Fatir Qureshi
On May 1, 2014

Local businesses are preparing for most students to leave campus for the summer and a noticeable decline in business.
Even though revenue declines, rent and other expenses stay relatively the same, which is something businesses owners must contend with each year, according to Sweet Emotions owner Barry Schreier.
"It certainly makes a difference, especially when you are losing 20,000 potential customers in a community of 40,000," Schreier said.
Hasan Akkus, the owner of Husky Pizza, said, "It just pays off the bills, just barely. We are able to break even though, but we do not maintain as many employees, because things are a lot less busy."
Schreier added that preparation is key, because although business slows, it doesn't stagnate.
"We were here last summer so this is our second summer being open here. What I tell people is that it's slower, but not slow. As a business, what we have to do is that prepare in advanced for quite times," Schreier said.
But business owners are hopeful that as Storrs Center expands, customers will continue to be drawn to the area even during school breaks.
"We want to be a full-time town, and as they finish up the square I think it really will just get busier and busier. We really want to create a sense of destination here so people will come to Storrs Center for stuff," Schrier said.
This will hopefully allow businesses a greater pool of customers, beyond just attracting people that are connected to the university like students and staff, he added.
Chang's Garden owner Wendy Chang said the influx of students who take summer classes can keep business going. Many international students in particular that chose to stay are often a valuable source for customers.
"We have been in business here for sixteen years, and the summers have been getting better. Last year was better than the year before. We've been here 16 years, so hopefully this year will be better," Chang said.
The summer also gives businesses a chance to restructure, according to Chang. "During the summer we did remodeling, and we did it for just one month, so we were closed for that time," Chang said.

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