Graduation Visitors Spending Money, Boosting Economy

Posted at 5:35 PM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 14:07:56-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- After years of hard work, the weekend FSU seniors have been waiting for is finally here! This weekend, thousands of FSU students will be graduating, transitioning from student to alumni. And even more family and friends will be in town this weekend to watch their graduates in this momentous occasion.

These visitors aren't just supporting their loved one. They're also helping to boost the local economy by spending money at stores and restaurants. Some local businesses, like Canopy Road Cafe say that an FSU spring graduation is one of their busiest times of the year.

"I typically describe a graduation weekend from FSU as like the equivalent of Black Friday in a retail setting," Brad Buckenheimer, the owner of Canopy Road Cafe. "We're overstaffed, tons of food we buy just to get ready for it. A lot of big parties, a lot of people's families coming into town."

Of course, these family members and visitors need a place to stay, and the demand for hotels rooms is very much like that of a football game weekend.

"The FSU graduation in the spring definitely is very similar to a big football weekend, whether it's Florida or Clemson, a big opponent," says Bo Schmitz, the General Manager of the Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee. "It generates very similar demand in town. It's hard to find rooms. A lot of hotels fill up fast, so it's definitely a busy time."

While the number of rooms being booked for football fans as well as those graduation guests are very similar in hotels much like the Four Points by Sheraton, other local businesses see their sales change when graduation rolls around.

"This weekend, they're coming into town," says Mason Kaye, the General Manager of Garnet and Gold. "They may not be loading up on an FSU football jersey. They're getting a diploma frame and a couple of t-shirts that say 'Alumni.' But the football fan wants a new polo for every game day."

In the end, it doesn't matter how theses visitors are spending money in town. The import thing is that they are spending in town which helps our local economy.

FSU will have a total of three graduation ceremonies, starting Friday night and ending Saturday evening. And of course, congratulations to everyone graduating.