Graduation is bittersweet for area businesses

 SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- It's Friday night in downtown South Bend, and Club Fever is hosting a rock concert.

The sound of guitars signal a new start for managers like Vic Mann.

"It's a real seasonal business."

He and others notice a big drop off in sales come graduation weekend, meaning -- they'll have to find other ways to pay their rent this summer.

"You figure they have 8,000 to 10,000 kids in school," Mann said. "That flourishes into Downtown. That's a lot of income for everybody."

The summer slowdown happens every year, but with the continued growth of Eddy Street Commons, Downtown businesses are feeling its impact a little more.

"We're competing with something that's right across the street from campus, rather than hailing a cab or bus, and driving Downtown."

Meanwhile, bars like O'Rourke's on Eddy street are going gangbusters.

"It's a great time of the year," Andrew Pankowski, a manager, said. "The weather really picks up; it's a really celebratory weekend."

O'Rourke's is just a short walk from campus, so Notre Dame grads and their parents will have one last hoorah before heading out.

"That late night hour from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. really takes a hit," Pankowski said. "I think it goes from a thousand to only a couple hundred."

So like Club Fever, they'll have to rely on concerts to get by until August.

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