Since 2007 Penn State has given students a weeklong break from classes for the Thanksgiving holiday, allowing students a break from the hustle and bustle of the fall semester.
The streets are less crowded and some local businesses report that they see fewer customers during the break, while others report business as usual.
Black Friday and Small Business Saturday offered a chance for many downtown businesses to bring in crowds despite the break. Appalachian Outdoors General Manager George Schettler said that business this weekend was busier than last year over the Black Friday weekend.
“We’ve been pretty busy throughout the week, and busier than we thought over the weekend,” said Schettler.
He attributed the brisk business in part to sales and in part because of the cold weather, saying that it draws in customers who realize that winter is coming and they need warmer clothes.
Other stores also saw benefits to the big shopping weekend. Dwellings designer Jan Knisley said they has good business Friday and Saturday, attributing the football game more than the start of the holiday shopping season.
“It is not like a traditional Black Friday crowd,” she said.
Restaurants and cafes didn’t see a huge fluctuation of business during the break, but saw a steady stream of hungry customers.
Things at the Corner Room remained normal, according to Manager Shawn Bainbridge, with the help of the football schedule.
“Things have been steady,” Bainbridge said. “But it helps to be sandwiched between two football weekends.”
Bainbridge said he also finds new people and visitors may stop into the Corner Room during break, and since there are fewer students around, maybe more people feel compelled to come in.
Saint’s Café keeps a clientele of many graduate and international students so business remained steady during the break, Manager Matt Avedesian said.
“Most of them still have work to do and need their coffee,” Avedesian said. “So we don’t see much change.”
Over at the Student Book Store, Manager John Lindo said that things were slow, even during the football game.
He said that he could tell that the students were missing from the normal football crowds.
Lindo said that he sees more visitors in town for the holiday season and during break and this offers some new customers.
Port Matilda resident Donald Walk said he misses the students during his trips into town over break periods.
“Town is dead without them and I don’t like it,” Walk said. “Christmas break is even worse.”