By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Businesses Change Focus to Survive the Slow Summer

By Forrest Hollingsworth

According to Central Washington University’s Organizational Effectiveness Office, as of October 2013, eleven thousand students attended CWU. That’s not a small number, and it almost matches the most recent 2012 estimated Ellensburg population of 18,348 according to the United States Census Bureau. This makes Ellensburg, effectively, a college town and, college towns are reliant on students.

So, what happens when the majority of students leave during the summer season? Local businesses change course to make sure they can survive.

Central City Comics owned and operated by Gus Foster, has been around for 10 years and Gus is pretty sure he has figured out how to survive the summer by now.

“I usually cut back my orders because with comics I can order months in advance and I know what’s coming,” Foster said.

The store offers a variety of comics, cards, and board games. Foster says that’s by design because he can rely on more than just students coming in to by those games and other offerings.

“It’s probably 60-70 percent students for comics but board games and cards it’s just about anybody,” Foster said.

The Roost: Ink Club, on the other hand, is relatively new to Ellensburg having just opened in 2013. This is their first full summer experiencing the drop in students and potential clients but Tony Ritter, co-owner and tattoo artist, thinks they’ve got enough things in the works to stay afloat.

“The only hurdle for us is getting really good at being busy and being comfortable with it, we have a lot of locals that come in,” Ritter said.

Tony says that the tattoo shop relies mostly on locals and summer school attendees to stay busy during the summer and so far, that it has worked for them. The shop is also planning on having a stand set up for Bite Of The Burg to get the word out that they’re open for business and accepting new clients all the time in case they ever see customer numbers dip.

“We just want to go out there and say that this is who we are and this is what we do,” Ritter said.

A variety of different strategies from cutting back on orders to opening stands during events may be just what it takes to survive the summer in a college town it seems.



More to Discover