Campus Cash helps local business, students

Jeremy Hebebrand

When it comes to discounts, college students will take every one they can get. In an economy where things are uncertain, businesses are looking for new ways to bring in customers and make sales.

The college coupon

Downtown Kent has a wide variety of independent and chain businesses. Because of the college atmosphere of the town, Shawn Kaplan established the Campus Cash program at Kent State to offer coupons and discounts, ranging from food all the way to household supplies.

Kaplan is the executive director and founder of the Campus Cash program. Although the program is only a year old, it has been helping businesses from the start.

The main reason for starting the program was to create a network that businesses and students could use to interact with each other, Kaplan said.

Businesses that want to be a part of the free program are allowed to post their menus, deals, events, job listings and a wide variety of other information on the Campus Cash Web site. Every two weeks, e-mails are sent out to students reminding them of the deals at local businesses.

Campus Cash also promotes itself with events, chalking, posters, Facebook and storefront stickers.

“I would say this program helps both sides equally,” Kaplan said. Students who take advantage of the coupons and discounts on the Web site will save money. In return, businesses are able to attract more customers and promote themselves.

Kaplan said students have been using buy-one-get-one and dollar coupons very often, although food coupons are popular as well.

Kent Lanes- 11th Frame is offering coupons to bring a friend to play for free and free shoe rentals while eateries such as Luna’s Restaurant, are offering buy one meal and get the second half-off. Campus Book and Supply is also offering a special coupon for buying books by giving $5 off a $75 purchase, $10 off a $150 purchase and $25 off a $300 purchase.

Those who choose to use the coupons can select as many as they want and put them in a “online” shopping cart, then print them all at the same time when they are done searching. Many of these coupons are deals that cannot be found anywhere else.

“Businesses are happy with the program; they get to portray themselves to the students. This brings in other businesses to the program as well,” Kaplan said.

The Web site also includes a marketplace and housing and rentals sections. In the marketplace, visitors can list items that they want to sell or items they are looking to buy. The housing and rentals section offers discounts to visitors.

What do businesses think?

Business owners are enjoying the attention the Web site offers them.

Roger Lewis, the new owner of Kent Outfitters on East Main Street, said the business has been a part of Campus Cash for close to a year.

“Being the new owner I don’t really know the specific number of users, but yes, students have been using our discounts,” Lewis said.

The incentives for the students and the attention that local businesses get from students are

really what it’s all about, Lewis said.

The campus cash program is allowing students to patronize local businesses and bring the community together in hard times, he said.

“We try to have good deals, not specifically for students, but in general. Perhaps lower prices on normal things that students always buy at the start of the semester,” Lewis said.

Lewis has been the new manager for only two months, but he expects to see more students in the store using the coupons available on the Campus Cash Web site.

Access to the Web site and the printable coupons is really what makes the program great for students and for businesses, he said.

Kent Outfitters is offering a coupon, among others, for $5 off Akron “Screw the Roo” taunting t-shirts for the upcoming sports seasons.

Contact public affairs reporter Jeremy Hebebrand at [email protected].