Apr 20, 2010
Life Liberty and Lynchburg: Student workers impact local economy
by Cat Hewett
Balancing school and work is many times not an easy thing to do, but for many college students it is a necessity.
“I have to work to pay for school,” Shanna Kormanik said.
Kormanik works at the Sundae Grill across the street from Liberty’s North Campus.
“I just walked down here my freshman year and got a job,” Kormanik said. “I have been working here ever since. (The people who work here) have become a really tight group.”
Kormanik has started taking only online classes so that she can work more hours.
Kormanik is just one of many college students in Lynchburg who work to either pay for school or earn a little extra spending money.
“I would say that all but two of (the people who work here are) college students,” Kormanik said.
Liberty Psychology major Victoria Cahoon started working at Firehouse Subs on Wards Road when it opened one year ago.
“We probably have four or five college students working here,” Cahoon said.
Cahoon said Firehouse Subs prints out a Liberty schedule so they know when to schedule more employees and to order more produce.
“We probably do the best during College for a Weekend,” Cahoon said. “We do the worst during spring break, Christmas break and summer break.”
To offset the loss in business during the breaks, Cahoon said hours are cut.
“We cut down on labor,” Cahoon said. “We do not have as many people work as usual.”
Liberty senior and Starbucks employee Sarahann Schallmo works at the Starbucks on Timberlake Road.
“College Students play a huge role in our business,” Schallmo said. “We thrive off of the young adults and the new up coming generation of business men and women.”
Schallmo said that her store does not see as much traffic as the store on Wards Road.
“We definitely don’t get as much business as the (Starbucks) on Wards Road, but we have a ton of commuters, professors and faculty come in daily on their way to Liberty,” Schallmo said.
Even though Schallmo works farther from the Liberty campus, she said that almost everyone she works with has a connection to Liberty.
“Twelve out of 13 employees are in Lynchburg because of Liberty, either they’re married to someone who goes there or they’ve recently graduated,” Schallmo said.
Roy “Smiley” Ellis’ establishment, the Drowsy Poet, almost solely services Lynchburg’s college population.
“I would say the college kids that come here, they have something in common with me,” Ellis said. “They want to get away. It is a labor of love not of money.”
Ellis solely employs college students, 90 percent of which are Liberty students. When students leave for the Christmas and summer breaks, Ellis is alone to run the store most of the time.
“Sometimes I have one person (working with me),” Ellis said.
Friedley also said that having colleges in close proximity to his store gave him a ready supply of workers.
“I get applications in here all the time,” Friedley said. “It works out really well because if schedules change or something, I have a ready supply of new people.”
Friedley said that how much business a store gets directly affects how many people it can hire and how many hours they can give its employees.
“Payroll is the number one controllable expense,” Friedley said.
Lynchburg colleges bring in more business that gives businesses more hours they can in turn give to their employees.
Senior Felicia Adams works at the East Campus Clubhouse located on the Liberty campus.
“Most of the people I work with are college students, but there are a few who have already graduated or are not in college,” Adams said.
The colleges in Lynchburg also contribute to the workforce by providing thousands of jobs. From professors to ground services and dining services, colleges are some of the biggest employers in the city, according to President and CEO of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce Rex Hammond.
According to the Chamber’s Web site, Lynchburg colleges contribute over 4,800 full-time and part-time jobs, 3,205 of which are from Liberty University. CENTRA, Lynchburg’s largest single employer, offers 3,300 full-time and part-time jobs.
Contact Cat Hewett at
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