There are a lot of benefits to living in a true college town like Slippery Rock. There’s a shared sense of community we all feel when school is in session and almost 9,000 students descend on this quiet little town. With the student population outnumbering the community population by more than two to one (according to the 2010 census), it is understandable why local businesses in town would try and cater to students. What is hard to understand, then, is why some of these businesses do not work out.
While Nico Luciano’s is just now celebrating its one-year anniversary, we are reminded of La Famiglia, the family-owned Italian restaurant that preceded Nico’s in the very same building and had to shut its doors a couple of years ago. Compadres Express just recently reopened after about six months of inactivity and anyone walking down Main Street can see the empty husk of what was once Rock ‘n Yogurt.
Why didn’t these businesses work out? Is the Asian-fusion Katana restaurant the next to go? Or maybe one of the Slippery Rock mainstays like Bob’s Subs, North Country Brewery or Camelot could one day have to close their doors. Many of these businesses rely on the academic year when students are around to make a lot of their money, so the logical conclusion to why some businesses do not work out is that they do not get enough business from students.
For the most part, almost every business in town is trying to benefit us students. A lot of them regularly employ students; many of them donate things to university events like Fall Fest and Homecoming; some businesses even have student specials; Yumberries is currently celebrating Greek Week with a contest. Many of them are very price-friendly and recently a number of local businesses have collaborated with the student-run Twitter page SR Billboard (@SR_Promotions) to help develop and market student-friendly deals to help us save money.
These local businesses depend on us students just as much as we depend on them. While it might be easier or cheaper to order a pizza from Domino’s or pick up something to eat at Sheetz, we should start considering to give our business to the local places. They live and work in this community just like we do and without each other’s support, both the businesses and the students suffer.
You might not think it’s a big deal if businesses close down because most of us are only here for anywhere from three to six years and once we get our degree we are out of here, but these businesses are here for the long haul. These businesses are community members’ livelihoods and often how they support their families, and we should take that into consideration.
The staff believes that supporting local businesses and helping them keep their doors open would benefit everyone in the long run and is a way of promoting positive growth in the community.