With Tennessee Tech students not returning from spring break, local businesses have seen the impact over the last two weeks.
Poet’s Barista Wilmer Prez said the coffee shop had to close two of their three locations.
“Right now we’re just taking it one day at a time,” Prez said. “We’re trying not to stress too much or overthink about things, but we’re also preparing for the worst case scenario. I mean, the only thing that’s keeping us in business is Poet’s South because we have the access of drive thru.”
T-Mart Owner Vikram Singh said his store has seen a drastic decrease since the first week of spring break. Singh said his employees’ hours have had to be cut in response to slower business.
“It’s affecting bad because north of Cookeville area is all dependent on Tech,” Singh said. “So this business, all around the north area businesses, it’s going to kill us soon. We’re already down 32-33 percent. Gas is almost 50 percent down.”
Cream City Owner Chris Savage said at least 20 percent of their customers are from Tech.
“We still have customers coming in every day, we’ve contemplated completely closing down for a little while, but we hate to do that because we have folks that work. We have college students that are still here and live off campus and they’re working. It has really affected us, but I don’t think it’s detrimental,” Savage said.
Savage said Cream City is operating as a take out only service for now.
Prez, Singh, and Savage said business has also been affected by COVID-19 concerns, but all said they are taking every precaution to maintain cleanliness in their establishments.