Just like for students and alumni, Homecoming gives Slippery Rock’s small businesses a reason to celebrate.
Dinky Dachshund tattoo parlour at 130 Newcastle Street. The back-to-school week saw an increase of about $2,000 in sales compared to a normal week.
“College students love spending money, and they’re far away from their parents, so they finally feel like they have some freedom,” says receptionist and piercer Lily Hazlett. “Tattoos and piercings are a really big thing for students and they love doing it.”
Many of their clients are students, but they also see some alumni. Everyone who came in was very friendly and tipped, Hazlett said.
During Homecoming, the store sells more piercings than tattoos. Piercings are easier to schedule at the last minute or to get in without an appointment. Walk-in customers are often able to be accommodated, which benefits customers who do not live nearby.
Dinky Dachshund has two tattoo artists, but only one is available during Homecoming Week. Hazlitt commented that it made the week “a little bit crazy”.
Holidays tend to be a mixed bag, but they do see more gift card sales, according to Hazlett.
For Rooster’s Coffee Bar at 150 South Main St. Saturday was their second busiest day since they opened in August. The busiest day was VillageFest.
“We might have two or three extras (on Saturday), just knowing we’re going to be slammed around the parade,” general manager Chelynne Curci-Lang said.
Rooster’s has multiplied its business by selling its products both internally and externally. They also took part in the homecoming parade with the rooster mascot.
They bought 200 rubber chickens to throw at the crowd during the parade, 50 of which came with coupons. Staff have since seen rubber chickens in videos at football games and around town.
The owners had been trying to open Rooster’s for 10 years before opening in August. They were slated to open in 2020, then COVID-19 stalled their plans.
Curci-Lang recalls several alumni who came in who said they wished the store had opened while they were at SRU.
Being so close to SRU, Rooster’s goal is to work with universities wherever possible to increase sales as well as their connections to the community.
“We learned that the university has a lot of different pathways, departments, clubs and a lot of things that we can work with,” Curci-Lang said.
Next month, the store will host the SRU Jazz Band and is arranging poetry readings.
A more niche business, Cloud Neun on the Rock, noticed an increase in foot traffic outside the store, but didn’t see this reflected in their sales. Cloud Neun mainly sells electronic cigarettes and smoking supplies.
The Rockets also contacted two Talc restaurants. One owner was dealing with a family emergency, but they were able to comment that business did increase during back-to-school week and they saw an increase in the number of alumni in their business.
Another Talc restaurant was unavailable for comment.