Downtown businesses stock up for weekend

by Ana Bowens | 5/15/09 3:48am

Although Green Key Weekend usually brings fewer visitors to the Upper Valley than Winter Carnival and Homecoming weekends, local restaurants and shops will likely see more customers over the weekend because of the influx of returning alumni, according to local business owners.

Jack Stinson, the owner of Stinson's Village Store, said he is preparing his store for the weekend by ordering more stock than usual, especially beer and other alcohol. Business at Stinson's usually increases during big weekends at the College, Stinson said.

"With so many more people in town visiting, it's logical that we would do more business," Stinson said. "We sell more to our existing clientele on campus than visitors, though."

While the current financial crisis has caused some local businesses to suffer, Stinson's seems to have remained relatively unscathed.

"Most of our goods are impulse-buy, low-end products," Stinson said. "Cigarette sales are down about 15 percent, though beer has stayed pretty consistent."

Many local business owners, including Stinson and Molly's Restaurant manager Danny Young, said that Green Key Weekend seems to attract fewer alumni than other special weekends, and that their business only increases slightly during the event.

"Big weekends rival hockey weekends, so it is a little above an average weekend," Young said. "We order a little extra food and some extra margaritas. If it is nice weather, we will add some staff to work the patio."

Although the weak economy has hit some local restaurants -- Quiznos and Carpaccio announced they were closing due to poor sales last month -- Molly's has weathered the crisis well, according to Young.

"We are doing really well," he said. "We are just barely under where we usually are this time of year, but we are not nearly as affected as other industries."

The Hanover Inn is just as busy as it usually is on any given weekend, and general manager Carl Pratt said the Inn has been doing well despite the crisis.

"We are sold out for Green Key Weekend," said Pratt. "But then again, that is pretty typical for any weekend this time of year."