Carbondale Businesses Brace for Summer


By Matthew Searcy

CARBONDALE -- Summer is a time of mixed emotions in Carbondale. For thousands of SIU students it's a time to relax and head home for the summer months, but for local business owners, it's the opposite, as they prepare for a decline in sales.  

"Our business, overall, is decreasing," said Jooil Lee, owner of Common Grounds coffee shop. "We cut down hours last year, will probably cut more hours this year." 
Common Grounds has six part-time employees, all of which expect to see a decrease in working hours in the coming weeks, as Lee attempts to put together his summer schedule.  
"We have a plan to reduce hours, especially the weekend and maybe weekdays as well, by closing early," explained Lee.  
Businesses on the strip are also feeling the impact.  
It's pretty significant," said Jimmy John's Manager Andrew Bryant. "Over the summer, I might have two or three people helping in the shop, but in the school year, I have like 8 or 9." 
Bryant said he does not expect a large drop off in their lunch sales, but says they will likely take a big hit in their evening and after-midnight purchases.  
"Summer is our slowest season," said Bryant. "We don't have sports to worry about, or SIU, or events. We are able to put it on cruise control and just do our thing here." 
The store will not reduce staff or hours, but part-time employees are expected to have their work time cut.  
"The first couple weeks of summer, we do see some business with the university, but after that we do slow down," said Bryant.  
The city is expected to lose almost half it's school-year population this summer, and almost all Carbondale businesses are expected to take at least some sort of a hit.
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