Spring Sing keeps students busy and the campus active, but no part of Searcy is untouched by the semester’s weekend. Local businesses anticipate the wave of visitors and often see the effect in their financial records.
Buck Layne, president of the Searcy Chamber of Commerce, said Spring Sing has a good impact on the Searcy business community. With approximately 11,000 visitors over a four-to-five-day window, Layne said hotels and restaurants experience a significant increase in customers.
“Many local businesses report an increase in their income during this time,” Layne said. “Local municipalities also experience an increase in local sales tax revenue.”
Several local businesses mark Spring Sing on their calendars and look forward to the influx of visitors, according to Layne.
“When you consider the impact and needs of 11,000 additional people to the regular population, almost anything you can think of in the form of goods and services will be increased,” Layne said.
According to Layne, hotels, restaurants, auto fuel sales, shopping and auto sales are some of the affected industries in the wake of Spring Sing.
Rocky Cooper, assistant manager of the Heritage Inn, said the campus hotel allowed for Spring Sing weekend reservations on Sept. 1, over six months in advance, and all the rooms were booked through the website within minutes.
Kibo Midnight Oil Coffee House sits just a few blocks away from Harding’s campus, and Manager Eric Mount said he increases his staff to accommodate the Spring Sing rush.
“It starts on Thursday when people first start getting into town, but Friday and Saturday are just insane,” Mount said.
According to Mount, last year’s sales increased 274 percent on Spring Sing Saturday compared to a week prior. Mount said that it is not just coffee, as merchandise sales also climb over the weekend.
“This will be my first year as manager over Spring Sing,” Mount said. “I was told by the previous manager, though, to stock up and prepare for Spring Sing because it’s going to be crazy.”
Midnight Oil is not the only business that prepares for the big weekend. Allison Dennison, owner of Mr. Postman Expresso, said she prepares by offering different specials and making sure the coffee shop and post office is well-staffed.
“Spring Sing is a busy weekend, so coffee is an essential,” Dennison said. “It is always fun to see students bring their families into our shop to show them where they grab coffee and study.”
Spring Sing may be a Harding tradition, but all of Searcy plays a role as well.