Mount Pleasant businesses flourish in summer despite population decrease

Chuck Miller/Staff Photographer Edmore resident Aleisha Hansen preps a tortilla wrap Tueday afternoon at Max and Emilys, 125 E. Broadway St. Max and Emilys is one of many business's in Mount Pleasant getting ready for the summer.

With more than 20,000 students departing from Mount Pleasant at the end of the semester, most would assume summer vacation has a negative effect on downtown businesses.

However, Farmington Hills sophomore Lydia Miller disagrees, considering how much business Max and Emily’s receives at 125 E. Broadway St.

“We have had concert series before; the whole town comes,” Miller, a Max and Emily's employee, said. “At the Art Fairs, we grill outside and try to be out there as much as we can.”

Miller said the free show is right on the corner, where they grill outside, bringing in local customers as well as the faculty who have time to spare.

Max and Emily’s has also countered the loss of students through offering a 'sandwich of the day' and by catering to events, especially conferences that might be held on campus over the summer, as well as graduation parties, Miller said.

“We do get a little bit of drop, but we try to push it whenever we can,” she said. “Every day, we have a 'sandwich of the day.'”

The lack of students does not come at a loss, but is a major part of their business when the crowd starts to return in the beginning of August.

“We try to target some of the younger kids, but in downtown, all of the businesses usually attract juniors and seniors,” Miller said. “We normally see more students around the time of Leadership Safari and when some of the older kids move in from off campus.”

Christopher Wilcox is a Mount Pleasant sophomore who works at Downtown Discount, located at 104 N. Main St.

Despite the lack of cars on Mission Street, Wilcox said the business runs as usual because of visiting spectators.

“With the summer months, we get more foot traffic from visitors and the parks,” Wilcox said. “That’s really our bread and butter in summer.”

On 114 S. Main St. is The Book Garden, which Lewis Krec has worked at for five years as a clerk.

Summertime has always been kind to The Book Garden, which Krec said is a good time to buy books because of beach reading and traveling.

“I get a lot of people who are buying books to go on vacation and have a long flight,” Krec said. “In the summertime, we have better business, because there is more foot traffic. In the winter time, there’s not a lot of people who want to park a block away just to come to a little business like ours.”

Krec said the busiest time of the year is at the start of fall and the beginning of the school year, when a lot of the novels are on the students' class reading list. It is also that time of year when a lot of the downtown festivals occur.

“It also has a lot to do with visibility. There is a downturn when you notice a lot of the books that are on the class reading lists,” Krec said. “Those sales drop, because there are fewer students who need to read them for classes.”

Kim Lovejoy, owner of Emma’s Boutique, 111 S. University St., has been operating her business for five years, and has taken advantage of what other stores have done during the summer.

“We run the same motions, but there are a lot more events downtown during the summer,” Lovejoy said. “There will be more free concerts from Max and Emily’s, we have our annual sidewalk sales, and the Back to the Bricks car shows are coming.”

For Lovejoy, summer is a great time for business because of the tourism the city of Mount Pleasant brings in.

“We bring in a lot of people who come up. We get ladies who come in with groups who are here for the weekend at the casino,” Lovejoy said. “But, mainly, it’s the people who vacation up here for the summer. That kind of offsets everything.”


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