SOU Students Back from Break and Benefiting Businesses

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, January 9 2012 at 6:17 PM, Updated: Mon, January 9 2012 at 7:10 PM

It's the first day back at school and Southern Oregon University Junior Ben Smith spends his first day back from winter break at Case Coffee -- reading and enjoying his cup of joe...

"After 3 weeks it's nice to be back," said Smith.

He's one of the thousands of students who are back from winter break and helping out nearby businesses.

Kati Case -- owner of Case Coffee -- said she's grateful for returning students who make up a large part of her customer base...

"The university is a big part of our business," said Case.

"I would say when the university comes back it's about a 50-percent jump in business so it's a big part of our business," she continued.

Student, Ben Smith understands why students are so important to Case's business.

"Get's pretty quiet when school's out there's not many people in here and right when school comes in you can tell there's a lot more people everywhere," said Smith.

And despite the bad economy, Case says her coffee shop has done well.

"It's actually really great for us because a lot of people are going back to get higher education so the numbers at the university are up which means our numbers are up and they need lots of coffee so that's always good," said Case.

Her business has grown over the last 5 years and she expects more of the same as SOU's enrollment grows and students continue to filter in.

And it's not just Southern Oregon University -- Rogue Community College started their classes today. Businesses near the Medford RCC campus say they expect to see a lot more business this week.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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