Off-campus businesses see rise in customers as students move back

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — This year, Texas Tech decided to spread their move-in times over two weeks due to the pandemic. Monday marked the beginning of week two, and in just seven days, local stores, bars and restaurants have seen a significant increase in business with more students in town.

This has come as a relief for lots of owners, as many were hit especially hard by COVID-19 closures.

Spanky’s restaurant on University Avenue said before it was able to open up to 50 percent capacity during the middle of the summer, times were challenging.

“The pandemic started in March, and we saw a definite drop off in business. I think everyone did,” said Spanky’s owner Lisa West. “The restaurant industry, in particular, was impacted, and it was a crazy time for everyone. Particularly when they shut us down to do curbside only. That was hard.”

Businesses have not seen this much attention since before March, and West said they are very grateful for all of the support.

“Now, with all the Texas Tech students back, it’s been really great, and it’s been a huge difference for us,” said West.

Texas Tech has taken multiple precautions to enforce mask-wearing and social distancing. Some said they are a little concerned about how well the university would enforce these policies. However, others have said they are ready to go out.

“It’s kinda crazy with all the masks and everything, but it’s still pretty fun,” said first-year student Nolan McGehee. “I don’t see a problem with it. Honestly, I think you just need to wear your mask.”

Although, other students said they were a little more hesitant about going out and interacting with others.

“I really try to avoid it as much as I can, I try to have as much dry food as I can in my dorm, and if I really want to I’ll just grab something real quick,” said first-year student Daniel Archuletta. “I’m nervous about catching the case, so everyone is just coming from everywhere because it is a college campus.”

No matter your preference, local business owners explained they are prepared to accommodate. Spanky’s said it is open for curbside and takeout. They also have some other ideas for introducing live music to provide an even more unique and entertaining for students.

“I’ve thought about doing some seating in the parking lots now – the way everyone is doing that,” said West. “I’ve thought about doing some live music out there to give us some additional seating.”

West said it is important to support local businesses, especially during these challenging times, any way you can.

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