Influx of college students brings more customers to Marquette businesses as tourism season ends

On the heels of tourism season, Marquette businesses have another wave of customers and employees.
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 5:01 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Northern Michigan University students are back, bringing a welcomed boost to Marquette businesses.

Downwind Sports said with three proud NMU alums in ownership, the business often hires students to work in the store.

“We have three NMU alumni that are in ownership here and then, a good majority, about 90 percent of our employees are either NMU students currently or NMU alumni as well and we’re very proud of that,” said Bill Thompson, co-owner of Downwind Sports.

As an outdoor retailer, Thompson said NMU students take full advantage.

“That’s why people come up to NMU. They love the outdoor setting here, so obviously once they’re done studying, they want to go out and play and we’re fortunate to be able to offer that type of lifestyle providing the toys to get them out and enjoy the Upper Peninsula,” Thompson added.

On the heels of tourism season restaurants and bars, like Remie’s Tavern, said the return of college students creates a new wave of business.

“It’s a layering of business really the whole year because with the busiest time of year, tourism starting in the summer and summer events, as that slowly diminishes here as we head into fall we get the students back, which is really a nice little layer of business that gets added in,” said Remie’s Tavern Owner and General Manager Russ Modell.

Modell said with the students back, his bar steps up ID inspections and works to ensure everyone is being responsible.

“We have a great lineup of specials. The 32-ounce cups are one of the biggest and most popular. We also step up some things like scrutinizing IDs, alcohol management and service and making sure everybody is safe,” Modell added.

Last year’s enrollment for NMU was about 6,700 students. This year’s data is yet to be released, but President Brock Tessman said it’s the largest incoming class in recent years.