In the midst of back-to-school activities offered to students on campus, South Side businesses also look to take advantage of the student population influx by advertising their own back-to-school specials and discounts. They do so in hopes of attracting more long-term student customers and connecting the Lehigh and Bethlehem communities.
“The students take care of us, so we want to take care of them,” Will Soto said.
The owner of Fade and Shave on East 4th Street said he wants to give back to the university by giving students discounts on his services.
“Lehigh makes up 90 percent of our clientele,” Soto said. “We have a core base of students that strictly come to us.”
Soto offers students $18 haircuts every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as well as 20 percent off additional services by showing their Lehigh ID.
“We try to run the deal the whole year and even give the same deal to those students who end up staying over the summer,” Soto said. “We try to advertise our deals as much as possible.”
The newly opened class-based fitness studio Barreform, located just off campus on West 4th Street, has been pushing deals for students as well.
“The more people that try us out, the more their friends come,” owner Nora Hendrycks said. “It’s a word-of-mouth business.”
To kick start the school year, Barreform offered free “back-to-school” classes for Lehigh students during the first weekends of September.
“We want students to come try us out,” Hendrycks said. “We want to motivate kids to come in and try our classes and live a healthier life.”
Barreform offers package deals where students can purchase monthly packages at the studio for 30 percent off.
Some students have already started taking advantage of having Barreform down the block from campus.
“It’s an effective workout and it’s a great time to go with your friends,” Maddy Condulis, ’19, said. “Lehigh students can even take advantage of job opportunities by working the desk or even teaching classes.”
Although these businesses are located in close proximity to Lehigh’s campus, Bethlehem residents use these services just as much as Lehigh students do.
Soto expressed a desire to connect Fade and Shave with Lehigh’s student community and form a bond between his local customers and students.
“I feel like the students are getting to know what is going on in the community by coming in and getting their hair cut,” Soto said. “We try to connect the communities together. Whatever Lehigh sports are being broadcasted, we will show it on the TV.”
Hendrycks said classes at Barreform tend to be a mixture of students and residents.
“The studio is a good connecting point for the students with the people who live in this community,” she said. “It’s not just a student population in the gym. I always see a lot of chit chat between the two communities. Older women will ask the students about Lehigh and how the school is and what’s going on.”
Hendrycks said that getting involved with the student population is one of the studio’s priorities because she feels that many businesses in Bethlehem are geared toward an older population. She hopes that in the future the business could create student-only classes or possibly parties for birthdays or other celebrations.