Winter Park businesses consider College Week a success |

Winter Park businesses consider College Week a success

Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News

College students dined and drank plenty in Winter Park during last week’s Lifestylez College Week.

Winter Park and Winter Park Resort hosted roughly 1,200 students from Kansas and Missouri during the week of Jan. 6 through 11, and most business owners reported the extra crowds were a boon for business during a week that is typically slow.

“It was great having them here. We were up quite a bit (that week) from the year before,” said Matt Chaney of Rocky Mountain Moonshine in Fraser. “It helped extend our holiday season.”

Chaney estimates business was up 20 to 30 percent from last year during that time, he added. Students came in droves, buying beer in bulk such as Pabst Blue Ribbon and Keystone Light.

“It was more about quantity, not quality,” he admitted.

Although Chaney had doubts at first, the customers were “nice kids” who didn’t give them any problems, he said.

“They were all friendly and had their IDs, which made us very happy.”

Plaza Liquors in Winter Park had a busy week as well.

“It was bigger than New Year’s week,” said owner Carole Jahn, who also saw big sales in “cheap, mostly light beer.”

“It was great for business ” it was hopping. And everyone was polite.”

The Untamed Southwest Grill in Winter Park was packed for at least two nights of the week when the restaurant hosted live music for the college students.

“It was huge. From our point of view, it was a very successful couple of nights,” said Manager Shana Holliday. “We didn’t get a lot of dinners from them, but they filled the place up.”

The students mostly enjoyed cocktails, Holliday said. And sales-wise: “It kept the Christmas week rolling for another week, which was nice.” There were no issues with behavior, minors or over-drinking, she added.

Lodging fared well for Vacations Inc.

Brian Lence, president of Vacations Inc., said the lodging of the college students was a “great success.” There were some isolated instances of noise, trash and damage violations, he admitted, “but considering the number of students and the length of stay, these were all minor.”

Overall, it was a good business week.

“To have this amount of business in January, and after the holiday season, was most beneficial. We would definitely welcome them back,” Lence said. “I also love the energy these kids bring with them ” a real fillip for the town, and something we should continue to embrace.”

Pizza and burgers weren’t on the menu

Some restaurants reported a good week but didn’t see the steady stream of college kids they expected.

De Antonio’s Pizza and Pasta in Fraser had a busy week, said owner Frank Donnadio, but it didn’t see many students. Donnadio spoke with other Fraser business owners, he said, who shared his sentiment that the college week groups were mostly in downtown Winter Park.

“We got little dribs and drabs (of college students), but we didn’t see much of them. It was all a Winter Park thing,” he said.

Lost Boys, a burger joint in Winter Park, also didn’t see a huge flow of students. But the restaurant had a “pretty good business for a couple of days,” said General Manager Fernan DeLeon. But they were grateful for the extra business, he added.

“It definitely helped. Otherwise it would have been a pretty quiet week,” DeLeon said.

Next door to Lost Boys, Hernando’s Pizza Pub also didn’t see as many college students as they expected, said Manager Angie Poulignot ” although the restaurant was busy with customers who probably came for the good snow, she added.

And speaking of snow, Winter Park Resort saw good numbers during college week, said Communications Manager Darcy Morse ” but whether that was due to Lifestylez or new snow she couldn’t say.

Overall, the college week event was successful, she added, and the resort is “pleased” with how smoothly it went.

“From the resort’s perspective, we think things went great. The kids were wonderful, and we hope they decide to come back next year,” Morse said.

” To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail

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