Exeter Students used their free time fully to discover the town. Did it help the businesses?

How did their patronage compare to last year? What were some popular picks for the students?

In order to answer these questions, a little survey was done on some of the most visited stores by the students.

The first stop was the Water Street bookstore. Now, some might say, Phillips Exeter has got its own bookstore, so why bother to go downtown for something we already have? Well, this is proven to be wrong. Although Exeter Academy has a bookstore, most of the books are course requirements, which don’t satisfy those who have the habit of free time reading.

Water Street stocks a large number of vintage books as well as bestsellers. “The students usually come in a group,” said an employee, “And it is a lot better than last year, where people only came as individuals.”

“The Exeter students definitely brought some business to us, but not necessarily the summer students,” continued the employee, “because the summer students would usually just take a look and leave. However we are a big supplier to some Exeter school events, so we definitely benefit a lot from having the academy here.”

Inside the store, the books are sorted in easy orders on the shelf, with one section being bestsellers to ease the time spent on choosing books. According to the manager, the popular picks among students are definitely the best sellers, like “13 Reasons Why” for now, and other classics.

Travel & Nature was the next store surveyed. It is an outdoor sports store that provides almost everything needed for sports. The store is quite big comparing to the bookstore but seemed a little empty. According to an employee, Exeter Summer students comprise 10% of the total customer number. Surprisingly enough, this number is still bigger than regular session students.

“I think it is because the summer students are mostly from out of the country where things are probably sold with higher prices than here,” said the employee. “Also, the regular students probably get more free time than the summer students so that they can go to larger stores.” When asked about what people usually get, the employee said “They are mostly getting shoes. We have a really big selection of shoes, and some of them are on large sales.”

The last stop was the store that I believe most of us have at least been to once (for me, it was six times), which is Stillwells Riverwalk Ice Cream. Exeter Summer students contributed more to this store’s performance than any other. The percentage is unbelievably high — 50% at its peak. The store performance is largely dependent on the weather, and thankfully the sun came out more frequently than last summer, which brought in a larger flow of customers.

“It didn’t rain as much during the summer camp time so that was good,” said the employee, “but we are still really busy even with just the local people.” Unlike all the other stores, students usually go into Stilwells with a target in mind.

“They don’t just come in to take a look, they usually get something. The most popular picks among them are coffee oreo, pistachio, oreo, milky way and chocolate vanilla.”