Back To School Means Drop In Customers For Some Greenville Businesses

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By Amanda Wade

With kids back in school, that means the end of summer vacation season, but what does that mean for businesses in Greenville who depend on the beach traffic?

Interstate 65 is seeing dwindling traffic. Business owners say the drop in customers happens every year, but for some hotels on the exit, it happened more than a month earlier than expected.

Front desk clerks at the Holiday Inn Express say they are seeing more than a 50% drop in business compared to the past few months, numbers they thought would not happen until after Labor Day, "It's also hurt the employees because, you know, they're looking to get their hours and the business is not picking up, so you know we've been having to cut back some hours," says front desk clerk, Vickie Lowery.

Restaurant and gas station employees say there is a noticeable drop in the number of people traveling through during the week, but with warm weather on the weekends, business is still busy and expected to stay that way through Labor Day, "The main thing that you notice is that Monday through Thursday, especially during the times in which kids would be in school, you don't see them. So when junior can't travel, mom and dad don't either," says the manager of the Greenville Shell Depot, Thomas Matthews.

But it could pick up in a few weeks. Becky Sloane, Co-owner of Bates House of Turkey, says if Auburn and Alabama do well during football season, she notices it because of travelling fans, "Alabama and Auburn travel real good, so does LSU, so anytime there's a game that somebody's going up and down 65, it really helps us here at Greenville at the exit."

Most business owners also say they prepare for the back to school drop in traffic every year.