Best Specialty Store - Mass Street Soda

Best Specialty Store - Mass Street Soda

The end of finals and beginning of summer is a time many students wait for the whole year; however, local businesses are left with fewer customers to market to.

According to the University of Kansas Office of Research and Planning, 24,892 students were enrolled at the University for the fall 2016 semester. These students make up about 26 percent of Lawrence’s 95,358 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Should all enrolled students at the University leave for the summer, Lawrence businesses lose more than a quarter of their patrons.

Lawrence's variety of businesses each view the summer in its own way. Some greet the summer with open arms, while others have to buckle down and survive.

Mass Street Soda is one of the businesses that enjoys the summer. Manager Maren Ludwig said the students may leave, but that opens the door to other sections of business.

“There’s a drop in the student population, but more townsfolk come downtown in the summertime,” Ludwig said.

The best time for business, according to Ludwig, is during graduation, as it is the time when students bring their families to celebrate along with them. The same applies to the end of summer when parents drop off their children.

Summer in Lawrence brings upon many events including the Lawrence Farmers Market and the Lawrence Busker Festival. These events bring an influx of residents and visitors to downtown, simulating the busy days when school is in session.

Although Mass Street Soda is not heavily affected in the summer, it does not reach the same level of profits as they would while school is in session.

“Home football games give us some of our best days,” Ludwig said.

Love Garden Sounds is a bit indifferent toward summer, as its product does not expire as a restaurant’s would. The recent increase in vinyl collectors amongst the younger generations allows Love Garden Sounds to thrive in a college setting. However, when the young people leave, the business may slow down.

“We're a bit insulated from the summer slow-down, our business is roughly the same when students are not in town,” Kelly Corcoran, the owner of Love Gardens Sounds, said.

Corcoran said the foot traffic within the store increases during the school year, allowing for word of mouth to spread.

The end of the school year is also a month after the largest day for both record stores and collectors, Record Store Day, which carries the business into the summer.

With the summer coming to an end, local Lawrence businesses will be welcoming a new wave of students into their stores.