Summer slowdown hits U of I's Campustown businesses

Champaign-Urbana -- It's only been a few weeks since students at the University of Illinois packed up and moved home for summer, but already, businesses along Green Street are feeling the heat, thanks to the absence of their college customers.

Many of the shops in Campustown rely on foot traffic for much of their business. But without the constant stream of students, they are forced to explore other marketing strategies in the summer to stay profitable.

One store doing that is Apricot Lane, a new boutique on the corner of Green and Wright streets that opened last September, so almost all its business since its beginning has come from the college crowd.

But as summer approached, employees anticipated that the number of in-store sales would decline, so they expanded online, and those transactions are making up for the difference.

"Everything that we get in, and we get shipments every day throughout the week, we post to our Facebook page," said store manager Lindsey Flessner. "So we probably do about half our business on Facebook, and Instagram as well."

Flessner also says that summer conferences at the U of I will bring in business, as well as students from other colleges returning home to Champaign-Urbana for the summer.

The boutique also hopes to join 10 other Campustown businesses collaborating with the Champaign Center Partnership. Through the "13 Thursdays" promotion, those shops are offering sales and possible prizes for customers on each Thursday of the season, through August 21. For more information on which stores are participating, visit
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