Amherst businesses expect boost from returning students

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – UMass students are moving back in. More students means more money for local businesses in Amherst. It’s a time of the year when business owner smile a little bigger.

Amherst has a population of roughly 38,000. It nearly doubles when classes begin again.

“I think for the economy it’s good that they can bring in some money and purchase for the local vendors and stores here in Amherst. Traffic wise, it’s probably not so great for the locals. Now they have more cars on the road,” said Martha Casey, a Mom of a UMass student.

Along Route 9 in Hadley there are signs welcoming students back. Like at the Econo Lodge and at the Amherst Big Y.

Inside the Amherst Big Y is a welcoming atmosphere for students. They have UMass merchandise available for sale. The store manager told 22News the local economy really gets a boost this time of the year.

Big Y’s relationship with UMass extends to their food.They now carry produce from the UMass farm, grown by UMass students.

On Labor Day, they’ll officially be welcoming the students back.

“From about 11 to 3. We have the UMass and coming in between 12 and 1 with the cheerleaders and last year they were here for about 45 minutes playing music and walking through the store. It was a lot of fun and it created a lot of excitement,” said Doug George, the Amherst Big Y Store Director.

And its not just UMass, Amherst sits directly in the Knowledge Corridor with Amherst College, Hampshire and Smith all nearby.

“We bring a lot,” said UMass sophomore Colleen Brennan. “We had to go out and buy own own stuff, just like at this grocery store right here. We had to go support our local stores and we help out our economy in a big way.”

Move-in for first year UMass students officially begins next Friday, September 4th.

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