Sales fluctuations common for area establishments

Business trends in the university marketplace fluctuate about as freely as the campus calendar.

Cindy Darego, owner of Mike's Place, said the summer months are her slowest, and she said she sees a noticeable drop during the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays and spring break.

Jeff White, partner and manager of Pony Espresso, said his business drops about two-thirds during the summer months when a majority of students are gone. He said that 95 percent of his business relies on student and faculty spending.

Some businesses are lucky enough to have broadened their customer base and do not have to rely on students.

"Our business is big enough that we have an outside clientele," said Tim Fischer, manager of Bike Shack. He said, however, that 75 percent of his customers are students.

"We're slower in the summer months, but we stay busy," he said.

John Forier, owner of Capt. Spiffy's Super Hero Emporium, said that 70 to 75 percent of his business consists of student customers.

"In the summer months that changes," he said. "It definitely drops off, but not as bad."

Only a few of the University Square businesses exist without the benefit of student purchasing power.

"Eighty-five percent of our business is not students," said Nicole Mertens, director of marketing for Arizona Images.

Mertens said her business relies on tourists coming in from out of town who stay at any of the larger resorts, although the store


does feel the effects of weather patterns.

"During the summer there aren't many tourists coming in," she said. "June and July are our slowest months."

Weather patterns also affect the way customers eat and drink as well. White said there aren't many people who want to purchase hot coffee during the warmer months. Iced coffee, on the other hand, has become popular, he said.

"You just try to survive," said White. "Most of our business is during the in-session months."

Fischer said it's not a problem for his outside customers to come in to the university area to shop. "For them, it's a different area to shop in," he said.

"One thing we have going for us is our reputation," said Mertens. "We've been around a long time and people know we're going to be competitive and fair."

"We have a loyal following," she said.

Another factor that cushions Arizona Images against the fluctuating calendar and weather patterns is the rise in its mail order business due to an increase in orders from alumni in other cities, said Mertens.

Sporting events usually change the patterns of customer behavior, especially when the Wildcats are winning.

"Final Four weekend was our craziest," said Mertens. "Everybody was buying."

Read Next Article