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College Students Give Boost To Local Biz

Idaho State University students are back to hitting the books and hitting up local businesses. With that, the campus gives the Gate City’s economy a much-needed boost.

It might be early in the semester, but Mocha Madness employees are already busy making coffee for students stuck behind their laptops.

Ricky Wheeler is one of them. She has been using the coffee shop’s Wi-Fi to study after her cat knocked her router off of her TV.

“(My cat) looked at me first. Then he looked at the router. Then he looked at me. Then he kicked it off and it smashes on the ground and now I’m waiting for my replacement,” Wheeler said.

Assistant to the Manager Joseph Torres said it is people like Wheeler who make their business profitable.

“During the summer we definitely see a lull in business. We have all of our regulars come through and they definitely keep us going, but once the students get here that’s when we really start making money again,” Torres said.

To that end, Mocha Madness gears specials toward students, and uses Facebook to make offers like free drinks. Without students, business there would be a different story, Torres said.

“In terms of maximizing profitability, the students are what keep us afloat,” Torres said.

Just down the street at the Grapevine, Manager Jeff Smith said students affect his business most by changing it.

“We see a shifting in sales from our gift items, tourists and people bringing their kids into school more, to (seeing) more coffee and tea sales from professors and students getting back into their routines,” Smith said.

The craft beer revolution of the ’80s and ’90s made stores like the Grapevine possible, and college students help keep it going, Smith said.

“Just, college students drink,” he added, laughing.

The Grapevine hosts a wine tasting every Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mocha Madness said students can use their new Bengal cards at the coffee shop and to check them out on Facebook or stop by the store for more deals.

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