As the majority of UCSB students moved in this past weekend, local stores geared up for Gauchos looking for dorm and apartment necessities.
The beginning of the academic year is promising for businesses, as the influx of students consistently brings an increase in sales and advertising opportunities. Furthermore, stores prepared to provide students and families with the needed items at competitive, reduced prices.
According to Goleta’s Kmart manager Richard Slowikowski, Kmart offered shuttles to and from campus for families who needed to do some last minute shopping, which brought increased traffic to the store. Kmart raffled off bicycles, refrigerators and a $500 helmet last week, and Slowikowski also said that the entire front of the store is packed with UCSB apparel, bikes, mini refrigerators and other items geared toward students.
“We have everything from appliances to posters to coffee makers to party cups,” Slowikowski said. “So, our store right now is basically merchandised for what the student is looking for.”
Goleta’s Costco saw hundreds of UCSB parents and students searching for mattresses, food, refrigerators and basic house-cleaning products.
According to Costco’s Marketing Manager Kent Wells, the store stocked up on back-to-school items for UCSB students.
“We put in certain types of items, such as mini fridges, twin mattresses and things like that for incoming students,” Wells said. “We also have special membership offers for UCSB students and will be on campus promoting memberships.”
Wells said the student community is a huge boost for local businesses.
“The kids definitely help out our business,” Kent said. “I think any business would be silly to say otherwise.”
Grocery and home-appliance stores are not the only businesses experiencing an increase of sales as students return. Kelly Scott, owner of Isla Vista clothing boutique Miss Behavin’, located upstairs above Bagel Café, said she has seen an increase in store traffic and sales.
“I have noticed some more traffic,” Scott said. “Normally it gets really busy the second week of school.”
Scott said she has filled the store with women’s clothing, accessories and Halloween costumes. She said she has distributed fliers, bookmarks and coupons around I.V. to bring in new customers.
“Everything is really affordable and student-friendly,” Scott said. “We love I.V. and want to support I.V. businesses and students.”
September will be busy for local stores and Slowikowski predicts that the heightened volume of sales will continue through the end of October as students begin their Halloween shopping.