Pullman business community representatives are encouraging the public to continue eating and shopping at local businesses in light of the news that Washington State University is moving to online classes only starting March 23.
The news from WSU is causing concern the student population will not be around to support local stores and restaurants.
Jake Willey, owner of Monroe Men’s, said the health of the community cannot take a back seat to the success of businesses.
However, he is wary the changes at WSU are going to affect commerce. Willey said he expects the small, locally owned businesses will suffer if students do not return to Pullman.
“Naturally, with the students gone, it changes the flow of business,” he said.
Marie Dymkoski, executive director of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, posted a video on Facebook encouraging the public to be mindful of local businesses.
“We encourage you to shop local and support our businesses who are seeing an impact due to the recent changes in the WSU class model. Shopping local helps to strengthen our community and our economy,” Dymkoski said in the video. “Pullman is a great place to live, work and do business. Do your part, stay healthy and support your community.”
College Hill Custom Threads CEO Tony Poston posted several messages on Twitter indicating an avoidance of downtown businesses could cripple them.
“Should WSU Pullman go online for remainder of semester, a lot of students may choose not to come back to Pullman, large scale events will cancel, hotels restaurants empty, retail shops lose 60 percent+ of their customer base, etc. So when considering buying, please consider local,” he wrote.
Poston stated he spoke to another business that fears it could potentially lose six figures in revenue.