The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Local businesses anticipate increase in traffic from students’ presence

Business generally increases in the Pullman area once fall semester starts
Neill’s Coffee and Ice Cream, as seen in 2021, as well as Neill’s Flowers and Gifts, see an increase in business this time of year.

After over three months, students are returning to campus and with that local businesses anticipate an increase in traffic as per usual.

Many of these businesses will see an increase in attention from the National Lentil Festival to take place Aug 19. The event, mentioned in a previous article from the Evergreen, is a Pullman tradition that has been held annually since 1989.

Jessica Duren, director of the National Lentil Festival, said the festival will be in two parts, starting with a grand parade that starts at noon on Main Street in downtown Pullman. Immediately following, Reaney Park will open for the main event, which will go on until 10 p.m.

“The Lentil Festival is a celebration of community,” Duren said. “The whole festival celebrates what this community produces and in doing that we highlight local businesses, local marketplace vendors, food vendors, a wide variety of things locally.”

Duren said for those not already planning to attend, the event is a good introduction for students to the community and is helpful for those who are not already familiar with the community.

“I remember being a freshman at WSU and feeling that you’re a big fish in a small pond and all of a sudden you’re a small fish in a big pond,” Duren said. “We’ve got tons of people that attend the event every year and there’s a lot of introductions for students into the community that they live in.”

One local business in the downtown area is Poppy’s Salon. Chelsea Whitney, owner of Poppy’s Salon, said she anticipates more eyes on her business as a result of the event.

“It will drive crowds downtown, students downtown, and that will be a benefit,” Whitney said.“Our business is a little different since we are primarily appointment based. The walk-in traffic that a big event like this creates would really be neither here nor there for us, but the visibility is great.”

Whitney said the business usually increases this time of year when students return to campus. In addition, Poppy’s Salon generally tries to reach out to students in the area.

“Our receptionist [on Monday] walked down a stack of flyers. We do online booking so we’re very ‘young-people friendly,’” she said. “We’re always pretty busy but it picks up when the students come back.”

Whitney said Poppy’s Salon has been open for just over 11 years. She describes the business as a hair salon with an eco-friendly twist.

“We try to take into consideration choices that are best for the earth, globally, with each and every choice we make in the salon,” she said. “We have seven stylists and an esthetician that offers waxing and facial services.”

Whitney said she currently sits on the board of directors of the Downtown Pullman Association. Her main role is helping to coordinate some events and enriching the downtown area to bring people down for the Lentil Festival.

Chris Chandler, special projects manager at Neill’s Flowers and Gifts, is an employee of a local business who believes the traffic in the area will promote their work.

“The most people come during the school year, although there is business from students who stay during the summer as well,” Chandler said.

Chandler said Neill’s Flowers and Gifts has been open since 1909 and is the longest continuously-operated business in Pullman. It has been in his family since the 1970s.

“I’m the owner’s son,” he said. “I stepped away for a while but I came back to help my family run the business.”

In addition to Neill’s Flowers and Gifts, Neill’s Coffee and Ice Cream was founded in 2020, and operates out of the adjacent building, Chandler said. Neill’s Coffee and Ice Cream generally gets more attention from students, although there is a good amount of student traction from both.

Whitney said she recommends students head to downtown Pullman and check out some of the businesses in the area.

“You’re going to be here at least four years, so come off the hill,” she said. “There’s more to Pullman beyond campus. Downtown is a close walk.”

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About the Contributors
JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor
Josiah is a sophomore broadcast journalism and broadcast production double major. He is from Lakewood, Washington and began working for the Evergreen in Fall 2021.
Mason Maron was the Deputy Photo Editor for Fall of 2022 and Photo Editor for Spring of 2023, as well as a photographer and a reporter from Spring 2021 to Spring 2023. Mason graduated with a BS in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences and with a minor in Forestry and is from Bellevue, Washington.