COLUMBIA, MO (KMIZ)
Foot traffic in Downtown Columbia has picked up surrounding graduation ceremonies and hotels and restaurants in the area say they’re seeing an up-tick in business.
The University of Missouri, Columbia College and Stephens College all have graduation ceremonies this weekend and they are being held in-person, which is having a big impact on businesses.
All three schools held their first commencements Friday and will run through Sunday.
Mizzou says it will have extra campus safety and security officers on hand to direct traffic around campus this weekend.
Last year covid restrictions caused many graduation ceremonies to be held virtually.
General manger of Broadway Brewery Damon Vertrees says “business this year is two and a half times busier than last year due to COVID restrictions.”
Vertress says that although they are short-staffed they are doing the best they can with the boost in business.
“We have plenty of front of the house staff, its actually tougher to find back of the house staff right now,” Vertress said.
Graduation weekend is busier compared to a regular weekend.
“It has increased 50% from what it would normally be on a Friday night,” Vertress said.
Not only are restaurants seeing an increased in business, but hotels are seeing an impact as well.
Last year the annual occupancy rate for the month of December in Columbia was 34%.
The Drury Hotel in Columbia is seeing an 85% occupancy this weekend, while the Tight Hotel and the Extended Stay are seeing an average of 50% hotel occupancy this weekend.
Broadway Brewery says they are fortunate to have the colleges in the area to support their business and they are happy to serve the graduation crowd.