When summer rolls around, students from Western Kentucky University go back to their homes from the months of May through August, leaving behind a campus that closely resembles a ghost town. The absence of students isn't only felt when walking around the school grounds, but also at some local restaurants and bars, whose primary and regular customers are WKU students.
One of the restaurants that is dealing with the student absence is Hilligans, the most popular watering-hole near the WKU campus.
"Last summer we were actually pretty busy, but I think each summer is definitely unique and depends on how many people stay in town," said Ashley Burns, an employee at Hilligans. "This summer we're hoping we'll be busy."
Most nearby restaurants try to do certain things or announce special deals to draw in the crowds that still stick around for the summer months in Bowling Green.
"Last year we did '$2 you-call-its all summer,' so that definitely got a lot of people in," Burns said. "We just try and change our specials up and have fun things that keep people coming in."
Restaurants like Hilligans normally hold meetings to plan for this decline in business during the summer break, which Burns says helps them counteract the smaller crowds that come in during the week now.
"We usually do a back-to-school bash. We definitely sit down and think about our specials and how we're going to change things up for the next year," Burns said. "Just thinking about new drink specials and new ideas that we can come up with. We're about to create a summer drink menu, and kind of just keep things new and exciting."
Students are often employed at these establishments as well, which means sometimes re-staffing is necessary to keep the customers that do come in served and satisfied.
Hilligans says they will still have their normal hours of operation throughout the summer.