College towns may prove one of the most challenging environments in which to run a business. Between the constantly changing taste preferences and ever-amorphous fads that we college students tend to cycle through, reaching consumers and maintaining their short-lived attention must be a daunting task indeed.
In the face of all this adversity, however, college town businesses serve an invaluable purpose, and if they can succeed in doing so, we college students reward them generously. College students tend to make pretty loyal patrons when they find their niche, and if a business can solidify a place in that world, it stands to win big.
Take Hornbachers. Open 24 hours per day, and serving non-stop free donuts and coffee that make for the perfect midnight study break, it holds a quick way into the hearts of the restless. One example unfamiliar to most Cobbers is Insomnia Cookies, which was started 2003 in a Pennsylvania University dorm room by a guy that started delivering warm, gooey cookies to late-night studiers. It now boasts over 30 locations nationwide.
Examples like these are endless. Some of the most relevant ones, though, you may not even consider right away. Think about living off-campus. Landlords provide those cozy places for college students to take their first steps into true adulthood and independence. At the same time, given the density of people that need those homes, they will almost never have trouble finding people willing to pay rent.
And we haven’t even gotten to bars yet. Pubs, taverns, and taprooms have long provided a place for students to socialize, network, and in rare cases even study. Concordia may be a dry campus, but for those over 21 the favored watering holes around Fargo-Moorhead, or any college town, have a steady future ahead of them. Spend one Thursday night at Mick’s Office and there will be little doubt its financial position remains robust. Heck, if you are under 21, just go to Dairy Queen (another great example, by the way) and just count those colorful mugs.
Last but not least, coffee shops. It would be pointless to expound on the glory of coffee, especially as fuel us restless students. It is no surprise that coffee shops create warm, fragrant, cozy study and social spaces. Concordia even has a freshman inquiry on coffee shops. We students love coffee shops, and we show them. Any coffee-loving Cobber would be quick to admit that these coffee shops nickel and dime us down to those Ramen packs we are known for (which brings us right back to Hornbachers).
There is a beautiful symbiosis between these businesses and the students that frequent them. College towns make vibrant business atmospheres, despite our flighty tastes. Sure, we students may want to graduate, BREW, save the world, and so forth, but let us not forget the value we contribute everyday to our communities through just living.
This editorial was written by The Concordian Editorial Staff.