On any given day, it is common to witness students making the pilgrimage down Pennington Road to local convenience stores, coffee shops and restaurants. It has practically become an unspoken tradition for customers and businesses alike.
Needless to say, many local businesses take notice when the College is on break and eagerly await the return of their “College regulars.”
One such regular is Bryan Furman, freshman criminology and psychology major. He is a commuter and often frequents Piccolo Trattoria in the Hopewell Crossing Shopping Center, located at the intersection of Pennington and Denow Roads.
“I’m a regular customer there,” he said, adding that he was drawn to Piccolo by the great food and reasonable prices.
“I love the fact that they are so close to the College, because I can (go) over there between classes,” he said.
According to Paul Harduk, manager of Piccolo Trattoria, the feeling is mutual.
“It’s nice to have a young crowd,” he said. According to Harduk, nearly 10 percent of business is done with students from the College.
“We’re glad to see them come back,” he said when discussing a decrease in business over winter break.
While Piccolo offers off-premises catering and has a formal dining room, Harduk said most students enjoy lunch and dinner in the pizzeria portion of their location.
Brad O’Dell, manager of the Starbucks location in the same mall, reported a similar relationship with students.
“We miss the regulars,” he said.
Similar effects were found to be true closer to campus as well. Joe Migliorino, manager of the 7-Eleven located at the intersection of Pennington and Ewingville Roads, said when the College is not in session, his sales are down between $400 and $500 per day.
“We see a definite difference,” he said. Because his location is within walking distance, it is visited by many students.
However, not all local businesses have experienced such an impact. According to Greg Varone, an owner of the Carvel next to Piccolo, business is affected more by the seasons than the semesters.
Nick Patel, manager of the Dunkin’ Donuts down the road from the College, reported very little business with students.
The popular coffee and doughnut shop is located in the mini-mart of the Lukoil gas station diagonally across the intersection from 7-Eleven.
Despite 7-Eleven’s strong College customer base across the street, “We don’t see a lot of college students,” Patel said. Yet the store still reaches out toward students with banners advertising the “College Deli,” promoting breakfast and lunch combos. Patel added that even after classes resumed, their business has been “really slow.”
Still, while most students bemoan the beginning of spring semester, many businesses surrounding the College breathe a sigh of relief that classes are back in session.