Last Winter Economic Slump For Uptown Athens Businesses

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It's almost time for winter break at Ohio University and most of the students are leaving Athens.    

But this is the last time local businesses are going to have to deal with the economic slump the six week winter break brings.

The start of semesters next year will change everything.

Currently, winter break means business slows down in stores that appeal to students uptown.

"You know, you lose 50 percent of your business. It's just based on the numbers. If you lose 50 percent of your customers, you'll probably lose 50 percent of the sales that they're going to bring. That just happens," says Brenen's Coffee Shop owner Josh Thomas.

Even with fewer customers in the city, some businesses still find ways to sell.

"Our web sales are what peak. They peak usually around a week to ten days before Christmas and then it just starts dropping as we get closer to get the last people that want you to rush something to them. But it peaks around a week before Christmas," says College Book Store Assistant Manager Gene Armes.

However, this could be the last time students do their Christmas shopping out of town.

Ohio University will be switching from quarters to semesters next year and winter break will then start in mid-December.

"It's going to be a whole new world, switching to semesters. We'll have to learn to cope with two rushes versus three. We'll have a shorter winter break that will allow us to sell closer to Christmas. It might change the dynamics of the Christmas sales. It might be more in store as opposed to online," says Armes.

However, with a good side comes a bad one.

The switch to semesters also means that the summer break starts earlier, in the beginning of May.

"We expect to be busier for the month of December. The trade-off is we will be slower in the month of May. We'll lose those students in the month of May," says Thomas.