West Lafayette businesses dealing without Purdue students

West Lafayette's population almost doubles when Purdue is in session.

Posted: Jun 4, 2019 10:26 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- West Lafayette's population almost doubles when Purdue is in session.

Students can be found in classrooms, grabbing a bite to eat or spending time at the bars.

But what about when they're gone for the summer?

Two West Lafayette hot spots answer what it's like to do business without 40,000 students in the city.

"We definitely have lost a lot of student shoppers," said Von's Book Shop owner, John von Erdmannsdorff.

"Students at least make up I'd probably guess half of the business," said Cafe Literato's manager, Matt Proctor.

Cafe Literato has been in business for five years and Von's Book Shop has been open for more than 50. 

The owner of Von's said the business used to take a hit when students weren't around.

"There used to be a very significant drop for us in he summer when the students left," said Erdmannsdorff

But now Erdmannasdorff said this.

"As time has evolved for the store more and more things that we have people come for during the summer," said Erdmannsdorff.

It's experience that has helped the book store, but what about for Cafe Literato?

"The town is depopulating by 20 to 30,000  people so invariable its going to get a little less easy," said Proctor.

Easy is not a good thing for West Lafayette businesses in the summer. Matt Proctor, one of the managers, at Literato knows that.

"We just you know keep people aware that we are here and we are still selling the same great options," said Proctor.

Options that are immense at Von's. Erdmannsdorff keeps a positive attitude.

"There are always peaks and valleys," said Erdmannsdorff. "Another thing that happens to us during the summer is that people know that there are fewer students around, so we get a resurgence of people from the east side."

Whatever side of the city people are coming from, businesses will take whatever they can get.

"It's fun sometimes hearing people walk in and you're over hearing things like. 'oh this is the coolest place' and they're sharing with their friends and bringing them along," said Erdmannsdorff.

Von's said overall all the options it offers keeps people coming.

Cafe Literato said its pizza and drinks help it stand a part within the community.

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