Mixture of optimism and pessimism among businesses amid SIU move - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Mixture of optimism and pessimism among businesses amid SIU move-in day

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CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- Thousands are expected to descend on Carbondale before classes at Southern Illinois University start next week and local businesses are hopeful there will be an uptick in enrollment this year.

Some are less optimistic than others, though.

"It used to be, everything was full and booming and everyone was making money and that's just not the case anymore," El Greco owner Steve Rogers said.

Rogers said he's hoping to see more students come in after a dull summer.

"Most of the businesses that I've talked to have said this is one of the slowest summers they've had," Rogers said.

But he isn't getting his hopes up, "I've heard from several people at the school that it's going to be even lower again this fall."

Quatro's general manager Dave Brown said the summer hasn't been too bad for the pizza shop.

"I have no complaints, let's put it that way," Brown said. "We really focus on community and stuff like that so that helps a lot, but having the students around is always a good thing."

And having the students in town Thursday was a bit of a boom for business.

"Definitely an increase in business. A lot of traffic as most people can see. U-Haul's, furniture, stuff going all over the place," Brown said.

Enrollment has been declining for several years and while Rogers is concerned enrollment will fall again, Brown said he isn't as worried.  

"I'm going to go with a wait-and-see on that," Brown said. "They re-opened the towers and Trueblood is back open. SIU is trying to do the best they can and hopefully the students will come."

And he won't be the only business leader waiting to see what enrollment is like.

The first day of classes is Monday and fall enrollment numbers are expected to be released 10 days after that.

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