Businesses prepare for the masses during UVM Graduation Weekend

By Christine Souders |

Published 05/16 2014 07:50PM

Updated 05/16 2014 08:04PM

BURLINGTON, VT- It's a big weekend for college seniors and their families.

That time of year again for graduations.

Businesses are looking forward to it too.

With close to 3,000 UVM Graduates, and their expected 12,000 guests in town for graduation, that's going to draw many of them to areas like Church Street.

Local businesses said they are looking forward to the extra foot traffic, and ready to make money.

Graduation weekend for the University of Vermont, for many businesses is also the kick-off for the summer tourist season.

"You'll see a lot of businesses offering sales this weekend and special events to welcome the students and their family, and make sure the graduation weekend is extra special," said Cathy Davis, VP for Public Affairs for the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce.

All those extra people, fill up hotels, restaurants, and retail stores.

"There's obviously an impact in terms of rooms and meals tax from all the hotel night stays and visits to restaurants that are occuring this weekend," said Davis.

Businesses like Leunig's Bistro is rolling out the welcome mat

"We reserve every table in our restaurant, and we put a tent up because we cover it and heat it, so those tables are first come first serve.The whole crew comes in early we gear up. It's a big deal for the families. They've been spending a lot of money for 4 years, and it's a big deal for the whole town. We like to put our best foot forward," said Bob Conlon, Co-Owner and General Manager at Leunig's Bistro.

It's not just places to grab a bite.

"Everybody takes pictures during graduation,"said Julie Hancy, Owner of  Danforth Pewter.

She said her business is ready for an increase in sales,

"Winter's been long and hard on Church Street this year and this is really the first graduations, the first part of may was the start of our pick up, and goes right into the summer season and fall," said Hancy.

They're already been spending some dough at local establishments, "I gave her some benjamins," said Lilana's mother.

They along with the thousands of others here to celebrate these major accomplishments, "I've been really excited to walk, and get handed my dipolma, and get hooded, and have all my family there," said Merrill.

Graduate Lilana Merrill and her mother were shopping on Church Street, "Usually the joke is to avoid Church Street during graduation weekend, but I can't do that because I have family coming in and they all want to go down to Church Street."

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