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Businesses adjust to enrollment drop at SIU

CARBONDALE (WSIL) — It’s been a recurring theme for more than a decade, businesses adjusting to less student traffic on the Carbondale strip.

Numbers released Wednesday by Southern Illinois University Carbondale showed enrollment numbers at 11,695 students, which is 1,122 fewer students than last fall.

Moshe Anderson, an SIU alumnus and co-owner of Kampus Kuts, remembers when the streets were filled with SIU students.

"When I was here it was like 20,000 (students) and that was back in the 90s," Anderson said. "That’s a big change."

The barber shop has been at its location on Illinois Avenue for 13 years and the shop’s popularity keeps the customer flow going.

"We still get our share of clientele that comes in," Anderson said. "We’re a little affected by it but not completely."

Chango’s Bar & Grill shares those sentiments as well. Jasmine Alexander is married to one of the co-owners and has worked at the restaurant since it opened three years ago.

"We try to accommodate and just try to keep a good attitude and keep going regardless of the enrollment," Alexander said.

The restaurant counters the lack of student traffic by relying on mobile apps like Eat Street and Chow Now to gain and retain customers.

Alexander says the restaurant also has customers in metro areas like Chicago that return to Carbondale to come to Chango’s, which helps alleviate concerns of falling enrollment.

"We’re going to serve the best food that we can with the best attitude that we can regardless of that enrollment, "Anderson said. "We’re not going anywhere unless they’re ready for us to go."

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News 3 Staff

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