With the class of 2021’s graduating seniors, class of 2020 graduates and graduates’ parents in town for commencement and graduation celebrations, local businesses in Bloomington noticed more activity than usual weekends.
Workers at Hartzell’s Ice Cream on Dunn Street noticed more customers arriving later in the day, particularly during the night of commencement, and students coming into the store with families.
“Generally we don’t really get a lot of older people, this weekend I think we’ve had a lot of older people,” Camryn Schneidau, a Hartzell’s Ice Cream employee, said. “People come in with their whole families.”
The increase in activity wasn’t limited to in-person dining. Restaurants, including Mother Bear’s Pizza Campus, also saw more takeout orders than an average weekend.
Spencer Hill, the general manager of Mother Bear’s Pizza Campus, has worked at the local pizza restaurant for 12 years, and been on shift during multiple graduation weekends in the past. Hill said that while workers weren’t sure what to expect this year, the amount of orders was comparable to past years.
“Overall we were probably slightly less busy than normal, but we were extremely busy,” Hill said. “We probably got a lot more carryout versus the dine-in that we usually get.”
Hill said that the restaurant had more takeout orders than usual, and believes it was because of people staying at home to celebrate.
“I think there’s still some people who don’t want to come out to eat, but also people who don’t want to wait for a table,” Hill said.
Retail businesses on Kirkwood Avenue also noticed a spike in activity during graduation weekend. Greetings on Kirkwood, a gift shop that sells IU apparel, was busy to the point that extra workers were requested to come in Friday, Grace Feiner, a sales associate at Greetings, said.
Customers were visiting the store on a constant basis between 11 a.m and 5 p.m., Feiner said, and most were parents buying IU apparel with their children.
Feiner has worked during graduation weekends in the past, and said she expected this year’s weekend to be different, with less customers visiting than in the past.
“Really, the only difference was that everybody coming in was wearing masks,” Feiner said