Returning College Students Boosting Lynchburg Economy

Lynchburg, VA - Some area colleges are already back in session, and others will be soon.

Local businesses say they are thrilled to have their shops filled.

Parts of Wards are normally busy anyway. Now, the students have really kicked it up a notch.

Busy roads mean busy stores, and that means more money for the local economy.

Students like Kate Thornhill and Magen Simmons have been busy strolling through store aisles.

"Just picking up extra stuff that I need like pens, paper, stuff I haven't done yet," Simmons said, laughing.

Simmons begins her sophomore year at Lynchburg College on Thursday.

Thornhill starts at Virginia Tech next Monday.

"It looks like everybody put everything off until the last minute," Simmons added.

There's a steady flow of traffic at Lynchburg's Target store.

"Last week was our busiest week. We did a little more than a million dollars in sales last week. So [we had a] great week in sales," Target Executive Team Member Thomas Joyner said. "It's probably 20% to 25% over our normal typical week here."

Arosto Pizza's been busy too.

"For the numbers that we made for Friday were the greatest numbers we've seen since the students had left," Manager Amanda Moore said. "We're definitely grateful for all the business."

Many stores say they have hired extra staff for the back to school rush.