San Marcos businesses near campus must consider extending operation hours to better accommodate the late-night college crowd.
Most college students tend to stay up late. According to a study released by the Journal of Adolescent Health, 20 percent of students pull all-nighters at least once a month, and 35 percent stay up until 3 a.m. on a weekly basis. Late night treks to convenient stores and fast food restaurants are iconic aspects of the college experience, and Texas State students are not exempt from these trips.
Despite these statistics, many of the stores near campus have relatively early closing times. This trend is indicative through a string of popular shops along North LBJ Drive. For example, Dan’s Dollar Bookstore has a closing time of 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Paper Bear, a popular store that carries a wide variety of gifts and trinkets, closes at 6 p.m. Both stores are within walking distance of campus and just a few minutes away from the more than 34,000 students who attend Texas State.
It would not be advisable to suggest these stores stay open until three in the morning, but it would be a smart move for business owners to implement later evening closing times. Students who regularly stay up until early in the morning finishing class assignments or working a job may not be able shop during regular store hours. Extended hours could help businesses draw in busy students who are looking to buy used books or trinkets.
In these economic times, it is understandable shopkeepers may want to close early rather than pay employees extra wages. However, some stores may actually lose income by closing their doors early. If closing times were extended by even two extra hours, students who are accustomed to a late-night schedule may be more enticed to stop by and make a few purchases.
Night-owl students would enjoy having the option to shop a little later. There are not many stores near campus that currently stay open past 7 p.m., excluding bars and restaurants. Many students looking to shop or participate in non-bar related fun would benefit from store closing times being extended to 8 p.m. at least. Nocturnal shoppers currently relegated to the San Marcos Premium Outlets and Tanger Outlets could find other locations to spend their money, which would boost the local economy.
Furthermore, many students may be more likely to shop at local stores after hours, especially when the dust has settled from day-to-day construction projects across campus and the downtown area. Students most likely do not want to go shopping covered in dust or while listening to jackhammer mood music blaring outside of stores.
A win-win situation for both students and shopkeepers would result from an extension to store operational hours. Shops affected adversely by construction around campus could attract a new demographic of shoppers with the extension, and night-owls could finally have a shopping haven tailored to their needs.
—Savannah Wingo is a mass communication sophomore.