Most Marist College affiliated restaurants and eateries that thrive during the school year will be greatly affected by the absence of the student body, while one in particular will greatly thrive during the upcoming winter break.
Significantly visited eateries and restaurants around the Poughkeepsie area by Marist College students include places like Campus Deli, Red Fox Eatery, Pleasant Ridge, and Rossi’s Rosticceria. All of these places will have their revenue greatly affected by the absence of the student body during winter break, except for Rossi’s. Rossi’s has deeply rooted itself into the Poughkeepsie and Hudson Valley region so significantly that they have been able to thrive during the times that the students are not at school during the extensive winter break.
Red Fox Eatery is located directly across from the Marist College campus, on the other side of Route 9. It is a family owned restaurant that specializes in making sandwiches, paninis, wraps, and burgers. Recently, they have added Korean food to the menu as a dinner option. Owner of Red Fox Eatery, Steven Lee, closes the restaurant for all of winter break. He says, “We have the same schedule as the students do during the school year. When they are off, we close. We make no revenue during the month off for winter break.”
Red Fox Eatery seems to be the most significantly affected by the absence of students, but Pleasant Ridge also seems to have trouble during holiday break. “We mostly cater to the ‘going-out’ crowd from Marist,” said cashier Katherine Ventura. “We stay open latest during the school year every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday until about 4 a.m.”
During winter break Pleasant Ridge closes much earlier during the weekdays and weekends. “During the time the students are not in school we get mostly the Poughkeepsie locals in for lunch. That is our primetime. We will open around 11 a.m. and the crowd starts coming in then. Things will slow until 6 o’clock for dinner time, and then we close around 10 p.m.,” says Ventura when describing opening and closing hours.
Pleasant Ridge and Campus Deli have both described their revenue decline during the winter months negatively, but to make up for it, they have adjusted opening and closing schedules and order less food to their restaurant. Campus Deli describes their market similar to Pleasant Ridge as they both find themselves mostly catering to the “going-out” crowd during the school year. But, Campus Deli has a better way to make up for their lost revenue, and that is through their one-stop shop strategy.
“We are a one-stop shop for the locals, which helps us a lot during the holiday breaks,” said Campus Deli owner Sandy Swierkosz. “We have established pretty strong local revenue with our gas pumps, groceries, beer, and prepared food. It keeps the revenue relatively strong until the students come back.”
Swierkosz also cuts the hours they have the store open during the holiday breaks. During the school year they are open until 4 a.m. on the weekends and on the weekdays are open until 2 a.m. The winter break hours differ in which they close at 12 a.m. during the week and on weekends are open until 2 a.m. Just like Pleasant Ridge, the Campus Deli owner lessens the hours to cut payroll expenses. “It helps tremendously along with cutting down the amount of ordered food from distributors.”
Besides the revenue they make from the Poughkeepsie locals, Swierkosz says, “The majority of our crowd during school breaks consists of the workers from Saint Francis Hospital and other nearby office buildings that are walkable distances.” The quick service, convenient distance, and cheap prices have served as a very marketable strategy for workers who are on a strict schedule.
Paula Williams, a nurse at Saint Francis hospital, says she frequently visits Campus Deli during her breaks. “It’s great to have a place where I can get quality food in the small amount of time I have for my lunch break. It takes me like two minutes to walk here from the hospital and they have my food made for me very quickly.”
Red Fox Eatery, Pleasant Ridge, and Campus Deli all have different ways of trying to make up for lost revenue in their own fashion, but Rossi’s Rosticceria is one place that does not need to make up for the student absence during the winter break.
“The holiday season is a huge season for us,” said Rossi’s co-owner Roberto Rossi. “Christmas and New Years are two of our biggest days of the year.”
All throughout the Hudson Valley Region, families have Rossi’s cater their holiday festivities. They have established a very strong relationship with the people of this region due to their historic excellence and being one of the oldest restaurants in the area. They started their business in 1979 as an authentic Italian delicatessen, and over the years Rossi’s has grown in notoriety and has become a fixture in the local area. They have a steady stream of loyal white & blue collared workers and neighborhood locals. They have amounted numerous award-winning titles along the years, most notably being selected as “The Best of The Hudson Valley” twice by the Poughkeepsie Journal.
“We grew up in this area, and we love this community,” says co-owner Fabio Rossi. “We still have a lot of the local and business crowd coming in during winter break. Also, catering during the holidays is a big part of our revenue spike during the winter season and makes up for school being out of session.”
It is evident that the student body keeps most of the Marist affiliated eateries and restaurants in business during the school year unless they have established a strong relationship with the local community. However, they all have their own way of keeping their businesses alive until the return of the student body.