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Summer survival guide for University Blvd. businesses

Posted at 9:19 PM, May 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-14 01:14:24-04

With most U of A students headed out of town for the summer, businesses near campus are doing what they can to try and find new ways to keep customers coming through their doors over the season. During the school year, many of them rely heavily on students -- as they consistently flood University Blvd. However, during the summer, things change quickly, according to Illegal Pete's kitchen general manager Neel Singh.

"University tends to be a little bit like, tumbleweeds," Singh said. "Especially when night time rolls around."

He explained the staff at Illegal Pete's shifts their focus from focusing on more of a student clientele to catering to people who live close by.

"We have a really solid survival plan," he said. "And that's really just doing what we continue to do, just working with a very different clientele."

Down the street from Illegal Pete's is The Fix, a specialty Mac 'n' Cheese restaurant. The assistant manager there, Corey Gilbert, explained people will have more opportunities to get their cheesy fix this summer, as they'll be changing up their hours to stay open longer.

"We used to close at 7:30 p.m.," Gilbert said. "But this year, we're actually going to stay open until 9:00 p.m. to see how it works out."

Unlike Illegal Pete's, The Fix isn't right on University Blvd. Rather, it's off the beaten path, nestled away behind a few other shops, so they have to be more aggressive when trying to reel in more customers. One way they're attempting to get more folks in the door -- they've put out signs right on the main street.

"Usually people from around town that come in are like, 'oh, we didn't know you were here, we just heard about you, we were just looking through our coupon book,'" he said.

Both spots say having more live music in the area over the summer would benefit everyone's business.

"It's really about the opportunity of letting them tap into all of the other businesses that are around here," Singh said.

During the summer, Sunlink ridership decreases significantly as well. In order to try and get more people on board, officials there say they plan on trying to have more special events throughout the summer.