As Fall Quarter winds down, Isla Vista businesses are planning to cut back hours or close up shop altogether over the three-week Winter Break.
Local stores and restaurants will adjust their hours during the holiday season due to a lack of customers and employees. As Isla Vista empties, most businesses either shut down completely or reduce their hours of operation. Some plan to use the lull in customers to make renovations.
Sam’s to Go owner Mehrdad Homayouni said he closes his sandwich shop during the break so that he and his employees can relax.
“It costs more to keep it open than to close it,” Homoyouni said. “We are basically going to be closed from the 19th to the end of the year. Everybody is going home except for one graduate student.”
Other local businesses are following suit, such as the bakery and ice cream shop I.V. Drip. Owner Tom Lew said he was planning his store hours around UCSB’s schedule.
“I really run the store around the students’ schedules,” Lew said. “Whenever everyone’s gone, we close, whenever they come back, we open.”
However, Lew said he will open his store during the mornings of winter break, brewing coffee and providing a place for the homeless to come and eat.
Isla Vista Surf Company Manager Steve Meronk said he was closing the store for only one week, since new customers who come down to surf in Isla Vista visit the store during winter break.
While some stores are closing down or shortening their hours for the weeks after finals, others are using the holiday season as a chance to remodel their store’s design and menus. Pita Pit owner Zachary Graham said he plans to re-launch the entire store during the holiday season.
According to Graham, the “2.0 version” of Pita Pit will include new menu items such as smaller portion options, lower prices and more soup flavors. He said he hopes the reopening will attract more students once they come back for Winter Quarter.
“I bought this store before I found out about its negative reputation,” Graham said. “I’ve encountered a lot of negativity from the student body. For all the students that come back, they will see lower prices.”
Java Jones co-owner John Lewis said he is also planning to use the slow holiday time to launch new menus and reorganize his coffee shop, such as adding a new line of teas and smoothies, as well as implementing a “greener” business strategy.
“The holidays are a pretty important time for getting our shit straight,” Lewis said.
Lewis also said that while his business slows down and his staff shrinks during Winter Break, he is hoping to remain open for residents staying in Isla Vista over the holidays.
“People always need a place to go on Christmas Day,” Lewis said.