Bloomington businesses tend to operate on the same schedule as the University, said Mande Miskewycz, Bloomington Welcomemat Services franchise owner.
Businesses in Bloomington definitely feel it when students leave for the summer, she said. It’s important to have a strategy for when they do.
When college students leave, businesses use the summer months to remodel, restock and reach their local customers.
Bloomington’s Welcomemat Services, a new mover program and marketing company that provides marketing solutions to people who have just moved into a new area.
She said since businesses have the ability to close or change their hours for a few days, summer is a good time to remodel or restock.
Emilie Moss, a Greetings on Kirkwood employee, said the shop uses the summer months to restock its shelves.
“It’s definitely a lot less busy in the summer," Moss said. "But that gives us a lot of extra time to restock before fall, since fall is always crazy."
Miskewycz said the summer months are also a good time to market toward local customers.
If local customers visit a restaurant during Little 500 or graduation, for example, they might not get the best service because the restaurant will be busy. However, if a restaurant really focuses on local customers during the summer months, they can get to know the restaurant at its best.
“People are really going to get the best experience during those months,” Miskewycz said. “You can get to know your customers better and really cater to them and show them a good experience so they come back to you.”
She added businesses can use their websites or social media to reach local audiences.
Moss, who also runs Greetings’ Facebook page, said its Facebook page does not change much during the summer, but she does try to promote new items that families or Bloomington residents might enjoy.
She said Greetings tries to highlight more of its gift items and not just its IU gear during the summer.
Raven Sherman, Bloomington Bagel Company retail manager, said the bagel shop does get slower during the summer, but business does remain steady. She said all locations change hours during the summer.
Sherman said the company always tries to focus on reaching the local community, especially during the summer months. That includes donating to local charities and organizations.
“We are a local bakery,” Sherman said. “We make sure to cater to the community."
Miskewycz said for Welcomemat and the businesses she deals with, summer is a good time find customers to start their program. She said a lot of people move in the summer, so for her and for businesses she works with, the summer months are important for getting new customers.
“Summer movers are the bread and butter,” Miskewycz said. “We want those families.”
Miskewycz said the most important thing businesses can do to prepare for the summer is to forecast for it. She said June and July are most likely going to be quiet in Bloomington, no matter what you do.
“It really does shift our town and change things,” Miskewycz said. “It really does shift the way we run our lives.”