Students have a significant impact on the financial revenue for the majority of local business. From dine-in and fast food restaurants to local boutiques and even rental car places in Ruston, local business owners and managers know that students are the heart of the local economy. As a result, different places have tried to include Tech express, discounts and school paraphernalia to make students feel welcomed.
Many students work for businesses around town and have witnessed firsthand how their employers have been affected by the Tech community.
Danielle Sibley, a senior secondary education major, is an employee of Raising Cane’s. She said the fast food restaurant supports Tech to the fullest.
“When Tech has football games, we are properties of Tech,” said Sibley.
Rickey Moore, a junior kinesiology major, works at Enterprise Rental Car where they have discounts for Tech students.
“We have a weekend special for all the athletic programs,” said Moore. “For example, if the basketball team needs a 15-passenger van for the weekend, they get half off for any games.”
Desirae Nicole Taylor, a senior family and child studies major, works at Ryan’s restaurant, where there is a special seating section just for Tech students.
“We have a Tech room that can be reserved just for groups of Tech students,” said Taylor. “I feel like it draws the student family and friends into our business, especially when there is an athletic event.”
Applebee’s and other food places cater to the Tech community by allowing students to use their Tech Express to purchase items.
“We saw it as an opportunity to utilize the outside sources,” said Darius Graham, the assistant manager at Applebee’s.
Graham said he believes they have an advantage over other restaurants who do not accept Tech Express by attracting the student population that relies on the funds they have in the university program.
“We have the option that if you are a college student on a budget, you can eat somewhere that is not fast food,” said Graham. “Students can have an actual meal when you are away from home or don’t feel like cooking.”
Graham, Sibley and Taylor both said there is difference when students are not in school versus when they are in school.
“The majority of the time when students are in school their families will come eat at Ryan’s, but when students go home they draw away business,” said Taylor.
Sibley said at Raising Canes, when students are not in school, four-hour shifts seem like eight-hour shifts.
Tech students play a bigger role than what they are aware of in Ruston, as they help boost the revenue of local businesses.
Graham is able to see first-hand the impact the students have.
“Anytime holidays come everything shuts down, so we notice a difference in clientele,” said Graham. “We don’t see as many college students; as a result we lose some of our sales, especially during Christmas.”
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