Liberty is Back and Business is Booming

As students have returned to campus and discovered what Lynchburg has to offer beyond Liberty University’s campus, businesses on Wards Road have been thriving from the increase in traffic and sales according to the News in Advance.

Cookout, a recent addition to the lineup of food choices on Wards Road, has become a college students go-to for fast food. Becca Erdle, one of the co-managers at Cookout explained that their business has been especially good since the students have returned.

“We have huge dinner rushes right when class lets out, and late-night shake rushes keep us busy all night,” Erdle said.

Because it is a restaurant in the fast food category, Cookout is convenient and open all night when most other food options are closed. Erdle said that their business has almost doubled now that students are back in town.

Wards Road is also home to other student eateries such as Firehouse Subs. As a shift manager, Matthew Cathlin contributes a boost in sales to the college students being back in town. He said he has had many positive experiences with the Liberty students who have come through the store.

“At first it was a lot of families early in August when the students first started to arrive with their parents,” Cathlin said.

Cathlin also explained that he has worked at eight other Firehouses within the state, and this is the one location where he has seen people pray before eating their meals.
Erdle also said that Cookout has had many new hires since the students have come back into town in order to keep up with the increased demand.

“Many of the new hires have been Liberty students,” Erdle explained.

Cathlin expressed a similar point, saying that employed Liberty students have always been very positive.

Frozen yogurt is another popular place to go on Wards, Alita Robertson, manager of the Sweet Frog on Wards Road, said. According to Robertson, Sweet Frog always gets a good increase in business when students return for the semester.

“Much of the staff during the school year here are Liberty students, and they have all been excellent workers,” Robertson said. “This is an excellent place for these young people to get their first job, and we have the opportunity to teach them and mentor them.”

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