Students' return spikes Columbia business

Several area business managers told KRCG 13 their business has gone up dramatically this week with the return of students to Columbia's major colleges.

Matthew Stahr, a shift manager at Hot Box Cookies, said his store's business has gone up by 60 percent this week. Moreover, he said the store had to go back on its school-year hours a week earlier than planned because so many orders were coming in after hours.

The store closes at 11 p.m. on weeknights during the summer and at midnight on weekends. Those times are extended to midnight and 2 a.m. respectively during the school year. Stahr said the bakery has brought in about a third more earnings each night this week than it did during holidays last year.

Down the street at The Field House and Willie's Pub & Pool, manager and bartender Marshall Janish said he is seeing more families this week than he usually does since students are still moving in. While he did not quote the kind of dramatic swings Stahr did, Janish said business picks up considerably during the school year.

Across town, Taxi Terry's president Terry Nickerson said the start of school typically signals about 25 percent more rides for his company than during the summer months. He said many students who are coming back need cars but do not have them. He also gets a lot of calls to take people home who have been drinking, though he said his company gets few calls from people who are sober but want a safe ride home.

Stahr and Janish both said business is up compared to this time last year. Stahr estimated business at his bakery is up about 25 percent compared to the same weekend in 2012. Janish said his business had increased compared to last year as well and cited the downtown student housing boom as a key factor.