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Local businesses still going strong

Local businesses are not suffering thus far this summer despite the fact that the majority of students are not around.

With school out, the city’s population changes drastically leaving the potential for a drop in sales at many businesses that rely on the college demographic.

However, it seems that the growing trend is more students are sticking around for the summer, whether it is for work, summer classes or just to party.

Bowling Green is known for its bars, such as Kamikazes, whose clientel includes many University students.’

‘On the weekends I can’t even tell school is out for the summer because we are still busy,’ ‘ said Rick Ault, owner of Kamikazes.

Ault said business is so solid he has not had to change any specials in an attempt to bring people in the door.

While Mr. Spot’s manager Mark Koldan also has not seen much of a decrease in sales, he said he does feel the volume of student customers is down.

‘Weekday nights and overall beer sales are down because there are fewer students,’ Koldan said. ‘But maybe the students are out there but just don’t have the money because of the way the economy is going.’

Koldan did point out how Mr. Spots is well known within the community, which helps to improve their sales.

‘There is not as big of a drop off as there used to be in the summer,’ Koldan said. ‘We do really well every day with lunch bringing in employees from the county courthouse and other downtown businesses.’

Another local business that sees a shift in business once summer begins is Buffalo Wild Wings.

Assistant General Manager Katie Cordes said sales have been steady over the months even with the way the economy is.

‘We haven’t seen much of a drop off so far since kids have been out of school,’ she said.’

Cordes said Buffalo Wild Wings has recently implemented a fundraising program to help increase sales on Monday and Wednesday, typically their slowest days of the week.

Local organizations can pass out coupons to people who then come into the restaurant and 10 percent of the sales would go towards that particular cause.

Several University groups have participated, but now with school out the restaurant is seeing the community become more involved.

‘Local Little League teams have gotten involved to help raise money for uniform and travel costs,’ Cordes said. ‘Or let’s say there is an accident; people can come in and raise money for medical costs.

‘It is just a way to somewhat give back to the community and to work for a good cause,’ Cordes said.

Both Ault and Koldan also contribute to other areas of the community outside of the business spectrum.

‘Mr. Spots is very involved in sponsoring youth baseball and hockey teams,’ Koldan said.

Kamikazes sponsors summer softball teams and Ault points out the return when it comes to sales.

‘More often than not the softball teams will come in to have drinks after a game,’ he said.’

Neither business advertises much due to expenses, but instead relies on word of mouth.

‘Mr. Spots has established a reputation through consistency,’ Koldan said. ‘We only cut an hour or so out of the business day in the summer mostly due to not having that late night bar rush.’

Kamikazes has also found itself as the go-to watering hole this summer.

‘I am having over 1,000 more people come in a week so far this summer than during the school year,’ Ault said.

He pointed out that the realty of all things might be a strong contributing factor as to why more students are present in the summer.

‘Recently we have seen local realtors have kids sign year leases, meaning they are around in the summer and have more time to party,’ he said.’

Although some bars lose popularity in the summer, Kamis, as it is frequently referred to, has no problem retaining patrons.

Senior Ashley Smith is living in town for her third straight summer.

‘The atmosphere is better in the summer, especially regarding the bars,’ Smith said. ‘It is easier to get service and there are less people that go out who annoy me.’

Smith and her friends frequent the bars several nights a week and Kamis is one of their favorites.

Ault said one thing that helps his bar aside from others is its size.

‘It’s a small place with big atmosphere,’ he said. ‘We only need a few dozen people to make it look like it’s busy when people walk by and debate whether or not to stop in.”

While Kamikazes has not had to make changes this summer, Koldan said within a few weeks Mr. Spots will be adding new menu items and introducing a family meal special.

‘We want to boost costs and reward our continuous customers,’ Koldan said. ‘ ‘Hunger never goes away; people will always have to eat.’

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