While the summer months may take most Lehigh students away from Bethlehem, work does not stop for South Side business owners.
Businesses such as Deja Brew compensate for the lack of additional customers by cutting back hours over the summer. During the year, however, they are open whenever Lehigh is open, only taking off when students are on Pacing and Thanksgiving breaks.
“During the fall semester we are open every day with the longest stretch of not closing being about seven weeks,” said Jeff Vacavik, the owner of Deja Brew. “Throughout the summer, we mostly see people who are taking summer classes, attending arts festivals or Lehigh camps and local (residents) coming by.”
Deja Brew sees a spike in attendance when Lehigh students come back to campus, which compensates for closing for winter break.
Over the summer, professors and Lehigh staff still support these businesses.
“Different professors come by every day,” Vacavik said. “I have seen president Simon come into the shop more in the short time he has been here than the previous president ever did.”
Eateries such as The Goosey Gander Deli, more commonly known as the Goose, keep stable hours and advertisements across all seasons, except for Sundays.
“On Sundays, we wanted to take time for family, go to the beach and hang out for a bit,” Goose owner Tony Silvoy said, adding that while he sees more office workers and professors during the summer, he does not focus on clientele, only sandwiches.
Twenty Four East Bistro does not change anything seasonally and keeps the same hours and marketing during the year. However, Bistro does experience a lack of customers during the summer. Bistro employee Rucky, who declined to give his last name, said they definitely see a dip in revenue during the summer as a result of the decrease of students.
Homebase610, a local skate shop, targets skaters as its market. As a result, the store does not heavily depend on Lehigh students for revenue.
“We are lucky to have a strong skateboarding community,” store manager Josh Novak said. “As skateboarding culture becomes more mainstream, we see more and more Lehigh kids come in and understand what we are doing.”
Homebase610 hosts community events such as art shows and premieres, which draw people to the store throughout the summer. Recently, the skate shop hosted a screening of Bethlehem local Carl Webber’s skateboarding video, Low Expectations 2.
“During the event, we filled the room up, had the video playing on the screens, had pizza and drinks and we chilled out,” Novak said.
In an effort to draw in Lehigh students, Homebase613 just added a vintage section to appeal to ’90s kids.
Some businesses see a change in revenue, not because of the lack of students, but rather a demand for their product.
Robert Clausnitzer, a worker at The Cup ice cream parlor, said although most students leave for the summer, there is more demand for ice cream during the season so profits even out. The Cup does not change its hours during the summer, but does offer Groupons year-round and closes for four weeks during winter break.
The Cup also changes ice cream every season to appeal to customers. Clausnitzer said they make all their own ice cream at a separate store nearby, so changing flavors isn’t difficult. During the summer, The Cup offers summer flavors such as pineapple, coconut and peach, and during the fall, changes the flavors out for pumpkin and apple.