Local Chapel Hill and Carrboro businesses found a new way to greet new students during the first week of classes this year.
The Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, the Carrboro Business Alliance and Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership coordinated with local businesses to build a local deals and discounts campaign from Aug.17 to 25.
Katie Loovis, vice president for external affairs at The Chamber, said the idea of promoting foot traffic in downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro showed up in the Business Alliance's monthly leadership council meetings. During the discussions, the council decided to narrow its focus to students.
“When we were brainstorming about what might be some ways to attract shoppers and diners, we thought, 'Oh gosh, UNC students,'” Loovis said.
She said the campaign would help to “entice them to come off campus,” and enjoy Franklin Street, Main Street and Carrboro.
Loovis said shopping locally gives people purchasing power and stimulates the local economy. The chamber referenced a study commissioned by American Express that said 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business remains in the community.
In the past few months, most students were away from campus during summer break, so the amount of available customers for businesses fell. But Loovis recognized the energy the back-to-school crowd has brought to them.
"Obviously, our population in the town of Chapel Hill skyrockets — students make up a big part of that population," she said. "So when they’re gone for the summer, our local businesses feel it, but when they return, it’s a wonderful time.”
For Michelle Temple, retail manager of Caffé Driade and Open Eye Cafe, the deals and discounts campaign has brought some happy air into their space.