By Brad Spiegel, Granite State Information Collaborative
CONWAY — Dave Hausman, proprietor of Huge Dave’s Bagels & Deli in North Conway, has an affinity towards highschool college students. Not solely is almost all of his employed workers in that age group, however he additionally depends on them to maintain the enterprise going after the summer season vacationer rush.
Procuring buyers in certainly one of New Hampshire’s premier locations throughout the summer season season is like capturing fish in a barrel. Preserving that momentum going is the true wrestle.
Now that college students, lecturers and college directors have headed again to high school in particular person, Hausman believes it’s crucial to reacquire prospects who have been visiting the institution earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic shut down colleges.
“General, it’s been a profitable evolution for our enterprise,” mentioned Hausman, who removed telephone orders initially of the pandemic. He now solely accepts orders on-line, through app or in-person. “I’m hoping highschool college students will maintain us busy with on-line orders.”
For what he has executed for the world excessive schoolers — Hausman estimates he has employed greater than 1,500 in his 32 years — and being a stone’s throw from the Kennett Excessive College entrance, the youngsters typically reciprocate as they make up a giant proportion of his enterprise.
“(Excessive schoolers) like working for us and we’ve all the time appreciated that group,” he added. “We all the time handled them cordially they usually’ve been respectful to us. That’s the reason we jive with them.”
Zoe Groves is a freshman this 12 months at Kennett and might be heading again to high school for the primary time since full-time distant studying shuttered colleges in March 2020. She plans on visiting Huge Dave’s a minimum of just a few instances a month, whether or not it’s earlier than faculty for breakfast or after, for her common order of a french toast bagel with maple cream cheese.
“In center faculty (my buddies and I) used to go to Dave’s each Friday after cross nation follow,” mentioned Groves, who received’t be working this season.
“It’s good that extra individuals are going again to buying at native shops,” mentioned Groves, who works at White Birch Books in North Conway.
Potter’s Home Bakery and Cafe in Rochester can also be positioned close to a highschool and depends closely on enterprise from the scholars. However not like Huge Dave’s, house owners Tim and Sue Willson have seen a rise in enterprise because the pandemic hit. They estimate the rise is within the 40 p.c vary.
With fewer in-store visits — the institution is a five-minute stroll from Spaulding Excessive College — Potter’s noticed an uptick in gross sales to important staff like health-care personnel, in addition to extra deliveries to those that weren’t getting out rather a lot initially of the pandemic, like residents of nursing houses.
“We’ve executed a whole lot of curbside (pickup) and supply,” mentioned Tim Willson. “As a result of meals was thought of (an) important (enterprise), we by no means closed.
“Our enterprise modified and we had to determine how one can do it and make it work. I believe we had a couple of two-week studying curve the place we figured it out, adjusted, and went with it,” he mentioned/
And now with faculty not too long ago began, the Willsons are discussing how they are going to deal with the inflow of scholars coming by means of the doorways, coupled with their newfound clientele.
“As not too long ago as (early August) we’ve been speaking about our anticipated enhance in enterprise when college students return,” Willson mentioned. ”We’re watching our enterprise traits and patterns. One factor we’ve talked about is a supply system to ship to lecturers.”
Blended Juicery in Plymouth is a bit more than a mile from Plymouth Regional Excessive College and sits simply throughout the road from Plymouth State College campus, so it sees extra faculty college students.
For the primary 15 or so months of the pandemic, proprietor Jennifer Snyder noticed a dip in enterprise when PSU, the close by Holderness College and the Plymouth public colleges all have been working remotely.
She mentioned enterprise began to select up by the center of this summer season as sports activities camps on the faculty received again into the swing, close by wedding ceremony venues booked extra occasions, and enterprise occasions have been once more scheduled.
She anticipates the ball will maintain rolling as soon as in-person education hits its stride.
“I’m anticipating elevated enterprise (in September),” mentioned Snyder, who famous the day earlier than being interviewed on the finish of July was her greatest day in a while. “I believe everybody within the business is thrashing themselves up. It’s a whole lot of exhausting work and (typically) little reward.”
Snyder has elevated her distribution of takeout menus, had extra of a presence in outside group occasions and is working with different native companies to market her institution. She hopes her effort will yield extra visitors at her smoothie and breakfast spot.
“Just a few different companies are struggling, too, so we attempt to collaborate with them,” Snyder defined. “I believe it can translate into a spot for enterprise people who find themselves on the lookout for a way of group. We’re getting our face on the market, which can hopefully convey individuals out of their houses”
It’s not simply consuming institutions which have been affected by college students being caught at house for the previous 1½ years. Buying spots for college garments, footwear and provides additionally noticed a dip in gross sales.
The beginning of the pandemic was a troublesome time for Ted’s Shoe & Sport in Keene. The 21-year-old enterprise just isn’t solely a spot for the native college students to get athletic footwear, mountain climbing and winter boots and luxury footwear, however in addition they fill medical referrals. Ted’s was not deemed important by the state and took a success when it shut down for a few months.
Nonetheless, this summer season, with the expectation of in-person education returning, the shop has seen numbers come again to regular, and proprietor Ted McGreer feels that momentum will proceed by means of the autumn.
“From a forecasting perspective, we’re fairly optimistic this 12 months’s back-to-school buying might be good for us,” he mentioned. “This summer season has been off the charts. I can’t examine this 12 months to every other 12 months. There was a whole lot of spending. Persons are telling me they’re getting their first new pair of sneakers in two years.
“I’m optimistic in regards to the surge, however I’m considerably involved about our business provide chain,” McGreer mentioned. “Like different industries, we’re having bother buying stock. The shortages make working the shop difficult.”
McGreer mentioned the shutdown was truly a blessing in disguise, since he adjusted retailer hours.
“We shut at 6 p.m. as a substitute of 8 p.m. and we are actually closed on Sundays to present the workers a break,” McGreer defined. “It in all probability was an excellent lesson realized that we don’t should be open that lengthy to service the wants of the group.”
This text was shared by companions in The Granite State Information Collaborative. For extra info go to collaborativenh.org.