Local businesses stress loss of customers over holiday weekend

Michigan

Businesses in downtown East Lansing say the summer months are rough and the holiday weekend doesn’t help

“There are some days where the money just isn’t rolling in, like today, like this weekend,” said General Manager at the Black Cat Bistro, Joshua Martinez.

He added that the restaurant’s isn’t necessarily geared towards college students, but they always take a hard hit when summer break is in session.

“For the past three, four summers, when the students leave, this area just dies down completely,” said Martinez.

Martinez says July is a hard month for business anyway, but with the Fourth of July holiday weekend, empty booths and bar stools are all too familiar.

Construction surrounds the restaurant and also nearby businesses, which Martinez says is also driving a lot of customers away.

“It’s been a trial, trying to get through all this and survive,” said Martinez.

Down the street from the Black Cat Bistro, 7-Eleven owner, Ali Haider, says July is tough for them too, but the construction actually brings in some business.

“Compared to last summer, I would actually say this summer is better,” said Haider, “we have 80 to 100 construction workers coming in… they’re buying their food, they’re buying their water, they’re buying their cigarettes.”

Haider added though that anytime MSU students are gone, it’s hard for everyone.

“I mean anytime you have 50,000 students not around, it’s going to impact everyone,” said Haider.

Students that take summer classes do help Haider’s sales, but it’s the holiday weekend they dread.

“This is the slowest weekend that any business on MSU or outside MSU will have,” said Haider.

With Fall right around the corner, Haider is keeping track of when the students are back on campus.

“We are only four weeks away from students coming back, then we’ll be fine,” said Haider.

For now, Haider and Martinez says they just have to strategize where they spend their money to get through the summer drought.

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