Restaurants Profit from JMU Graduation Crowds

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email
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HARRISONBURG, Va.---Restaurants in the area were busy from James Madison University's graduation on Saturday.

New graduate Erika Petty went to L'Italia restaurant to celebrate with her family

"This is something, I have waited for since I was five," said Petty.

For L'Italia owners, this is a weekend they look forward to.

Owner Veronica Amato said customers have filled five times as many as many seats this Friday and Saturday compared to a normal weekend.

"We probably served about a thousand people, which means a lot of turn over because this restaurant normally sits 100 people," said Amato.

She said this is the reason, she scheduled twice ther number of employees and started taking reservations a year in advance.

"We were pretty booked already a month ago," said Amato.

Petty who came with nearly 11 people said she called many places before getting a reservation at L'Italia.

"I knew they were gonna be busy. I'm surprised they could fit us all in. I'm impressed on how fast we were able to come in here," said Petty.

For Amato, this is the most profitable weekend of all year.

"I think this weekend absolutely, every one is busy, especially the restaurants that are upper scale where you would want to celebrate on a special occasion," said Amato.

WHSV contacted several restaurant owners and some of them mentioned having a long wait. Others did not come to the phone because they were busy taking care of customers.

Amato said spring in general is a good season for business.

"Spring is a pretty busy season because we have the graduation, mother's day, graduation from other schools, EMU, Blue Ridge, Bridgewater college," said Amato.

According to Amato, the business starts to slow down as JMU students leave the area in June. Travelers usually make up for them, accounting for 60% of their customers during the summer.

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