Students may flood Yale during Bulldog Days, but not necessarily all local businesses.
Despite the influx of parents and prospective freshmen on campus this week, many stores around the University expect little difference in revenue for the three days the admitted class of 2012 is in town.
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Perhaps predictably, though, stores that sell Yale merchandise tend to notice an upswing in sales during the annual event.
“In terms of rankings, [Bulldog Days’ sales] are pretty high up there,” said Eric Nelson, assistant manager of the Yale Bookstore. Despite not having this year’s figures on hand, Nelson estimated that sales have been comparable to Bulldog Days in years past.
Barry Cobden, owner of Campus Customs, also commented on the annual boost in business at his store during Bulldog Days.
“The slumping economy has had little impact on revenue,” Cobden said.
But George Koutroumanis, co-owner of Yorkside Pizza & Restaurant, downplayed the singular effect of Bulldog Days on the number of customers.
“Whenever there are a lot of parents and students on campus, there will be an increase in business,” Koutroumanis said. “It’s no different from any other event during the year.”
But Urban Outfitters manager Kelly Festo said she was unaware of the event. Although she noticed more parents and students walking around Broadway than usual, Festo said revenue was similar to a typical spring break when other college students return home to the New Haven area. In fact, she added, this week’s sales were considerably down in comparison to College Night last week.
Incoming freshmen said they were pleasantly surprised with the stores around campus, despite what they viewed as New Haven’s less-than-positive reputation. But, many confessed, they had yet to buy something from local businesses. And since the admitted freshmen were provided with meal cards throughout their stay, many said they saw little need to survey New Haven’s many restaurants.
“Our suitcases are already too full,” said David Martinez, a prospective freshman. Other than Yale gear, on which he spent about $50, Martinez said there was very little reason to buy anything during Bulldog Days.
Other incoming freshmen were even more frugal.
“We’ve only spent $3 each on ice cream over the past couple of days,” said two students walking down Broadway.
Some felt that local stores were too limited in number and scope. Zach Rait, an admitted freshman, said that clothing stores near campus — J. Crew and Urban Outfitters — did not appeal to him and that he wished New Haven offered greater variety.
Still, most freshman interviewed said the shops around campus will factor little in their decision to come to Yale.
“Although I’m generally pleased with the variety of shops around Yale, it really doesn’t matter much to me,” prospective Yalie Nick Venable said.
Nonetheless, despite mixed reviews about sales and stores, owners and students remain positive about Bulldog Days itself.
“After all, Bulldog Days is the start of a new chapter with a fresh class of Yale students,” Cobden said.