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Businesses prepare for increase in commerce

Amanda Gray | Thursday, May 14, 2009

Like any other major campus event, Commencement weekend and the surrounding days have left few hotel rooms open and business booming, according to local business owners.

Aaron Perri, general manager of Legends of Notre Dame, said there are a few weekends out of the year – like football weekends and Junior Parents’ Weekend – that set business flowing.

He said Commencement weekend is not exempt from this list.

“Legends of Notre Dame Restaurant and Alehouse Pub is impacted just as much as everywhere else, if not more,” Perri said.

Shannon McKaskle, the rooms manager at the Morris Inn, said that on-campus businesses have a unique situation.

“Our situation is slightly different than hotels that sit off-campus,” McKaskle said.

Factors like proximity to campus have aided the Morris Inn to a sold-out booking for Friday and Saturday, she said.

Sold-out booking for Commencement weekend is typical, she said.

McKaskle said business at the Morris Inn has picked up slightly in the past month.

“We have experienced a bit of a slow down because of the economy, but not now,” McKaskle said.

The Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore is also expecting an increase in business from Commencement weekend, marketing manager Kristin Blitch said.

“We’ll see strong sales in Diploma Frames and other gift items as grads and parents are looking for the perfect momento to cap off their educational experience,” she said.

Blitch said the Bookstore has seen an increase from last year in cap and gown orders.

“The biggest difference we’ve seen thus far is in the number of orders we’ve received for caps and gowns,” she said. “It appears that almost every student who could participate in this graduation will.”

Blitch said the economy has led to some fallbacks in business this year, but she said she’s optimistic about turnout for the weekend.

“Graduation is an event that people will always find a way to attend because it marks such a monumental step in the life of a student,” she said.