As winter approaches, Amherst Center prepares to battle against the cold bitter nights and slow empty tables. Between snow closures and student’s lack of motivation, bars and restaurants are aiming to avoid a drop in profit. Ample measures are put into place to keep businesses up and running.
The Weather Channel estimated that over the winter of 2014-2015 approximately one billion dollars were lost in wages and profits after consistently getting slammed by snowstorms. Even with precautionary measures and adjustments for the weather in 2015 businesses across the country experienced one of the lowest first quarters in history, David DuBois, CEO of the Franklin Restaurant Group, told Boston Magazine.
Liz Conley, a 20-year-old psychology and management student at UMass and server at Moti and Lit says, “There are a lot more private events now that its getting colder and closer to the end of the semester.” She also pointed out adjustments in the business’ daily routine, “They put up outdoor space heaters for the lines and set up a coat check more regularly.” She added that in winter they tend to mostly close down on slow nights to avoid losing profit.
Downtown Amherst primarily relies on students from UMass and Amherst College to sustain their business. Every night the bars are filled to the rim with students, from karaoke to trivia it is rare to see an empty bar. However with winter threatening to be worse than the last, there is a slight concern.
Though restaurant and bar employees claim revenue is not lost, some students had contrary opinions on the matter. Kate Doherty, a junior nursing student at UMass said, “The cold weather decreases any want to be outside. In the fall and summer you can walk to the bars and its fun to walk there but the cold weather ruins any fun.” She continued to say, “It just takes a lot more planning in the winter to go to the bars. The buses don’t run regularly and I don’t want to get stuck out side in the snow.”
However when looking at the issue it does not solely depend on a student’s feelings about winter, as Jeremy Luck, 23, from Wellesley, Massachusetts pointed out, “I live close to the bars so it wont make a difference for me but the ones that live far away probably wont come as often.” When interviewing individuals it seemed the women were less likely to go out.
Since the winter is incredibly unpredictable, it leaves business owners on their toes. However with a large variety in the student population it gives them assurance that they will survive the storms. Last year most of the storms hit on either Mondays or Tuesdays, but there is no way to predict that the same will happen this year.
Doherty says, “I think some people love it so much and will go whenever, but for people that don’t go all the time the winter will definitely keep them from going. They’ll just drink at home.” This does seem to be the case as she continued on, “The people that go will probably stay longer than they usually do to avoid going outside. The bars might not have as many people coming through but the people that come will stay longer and buy more drinks.”
Jordan Coleman, a male student at UMass backs up Doherty’s theory by endorsing UMass’ zoo reputation. “I’m going to continue to go to the bars when it snows” he says, “The best thing about our school is that all of our students will relentlessly drink regardless of the weather or any other conditions.”