Local businesses expecting big boost as Penn State students begin to return

Many State College businesses see a lull in sales during the summer months when most Penn State students are out of town, but as the summer winds down, they must prepare for a rush.

Bill Frantz, Benner Pike Wal-Mart manager, said Aug. 15 through freshman move-in weekend are some of the busiest days of the year.

“It’s not quite Christmas,” he said, “but it’s very similar.”

The North Atherton Street Wal-Mart sees one of the biggest jumps in sales from a normal weekend of any store in the country, he said.

And both locations see a more than 100 percent sales increase in house wares, cleaning supplies and some furniture items.

“I've always said the students come back with very little but their clothing,” he said, adding that food items also fly off the shelves.

And while the middle of August is close to the Christmas-time rush at Wal-Mart, it’s bigger than Christmas for Tubbies Bedrooms.

Manager Bruce Struble said Aug. 15, when many leases begin locally is his best sales day of the year. The store had historically delivered as many as 40 purchases in the single day.

“This is our Christmas for the next two weeks,” he said.

He said August is the busiest month of the year, and they could deliver close to eight beds a day on normal days. Struble doesn’t bring in extra people or extended the store hours during busy days, but he said sometimes employees get their families to help out in the store or driving the three delivery trucks.

The mattresses and bed frames are the big sellers among the students, he said. He doesn’t sell as many headboards and other rooms accessories because he said it’s not worth it for students to buy them and get rid of them after a year.