Carbondale businesses feel impact of SIU student decline - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Carbondale businesses feel impact of SIU student decline

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CARBONDALE -- SIU's Carbondale campus is seeing another drop in enrollment. The total number of students on campus has fallen in 13 of the last 14 years. Business owners in Carbondale are feeling that decline.

The beginning of the fall semester typically means big business for the Furniture King. Students are moving in and they need couches, tables and mattresses to fill their new apartments. But for the past several years, business has slowed, leading store manager Diane Hood to order less furniture and have less help on hand during move-in weekend. 

"We just kind of didn't have to use the people that we had. They were here for their regular time but we didn't need them as much for the overtime hours," said Hood. 

They aren't the only ones taking a hit. A quick internet search shows dozens of rental properties still available in Carbondale.

Parsons Rental's Property Manager Judy Glasford says its strange to see apartments still available this late in the year.

"Three years ago, we were full by the end of July. Last year was very slow and this year has been very slow," said Glasford. 

She says they're hoping to fill vacant apartments when the spring semester rolls around, but are just hoping SIU can do something to bring students back to the area. 

Hood hopes the same, but says in order to bring students back, it needs to be a community effort. 

"I challenge you to let them know how welcome they are, how much we appreciate them being here, and how much we just enjoy having them in our area," said Hood. 

Because in a college town, businesses rely heavily on the student population. 

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