Michael Overstreet sat comfortably on a barstool, smiling at all of the people who entered Toomer’s Drugstore late on Friday afternoon.
Overstreet is the manager of Toomer’s Drugstore and has been for the last 18 years.
He and his wife moved to Auburn in 1999 to finish their education and to begin building a family. They used the money from Toomer’s to pay their bills, and Overstreet said they loved the Auburn community so much that they never left.
“We are usually pretty blessed with steady business,” Overstreet said of the store.
Overstreet said he wasn’t sure of the exact difference in revenue between weekends.
“Oddly enough, we don’t even keep up with that,” he said. “Those numbers aren’t really that important to us. Our top priority is making sure that everyone who wants to gets served gets served.”
One way the drugstore keeps up with their sales is by counting the boxes of lemons before any given weekend.
Toomer’s uses about 40 boxes of lemons for a regular weekend, Overstreet said, and anywhere from 80 to 120 for a game day weekend.
Overstreet said the busiest game day weekend all season is Homecoming weekend.
He joked that the staff always tries to guess which game will be busier, and this year, all bets were on Georgia Southern because of the clear skies and the excitement around the football season opener, but the Homecoming weekend far outpaced that.
“Once you get to the Iron Bowl,” he said, “Those are the hardcore tailgaters. They have been downtown, gotten their lemonade; they’ve been to J&M and gotten their merchandise … and now they are ready to focus.”
Overstreet said that the reason they are blessed to have the business on non-game day weekends is because downtown has so much to offer.
“That often gets missed,” he said. “A business isn’t going to survive anywhere unless it has really great businesses around it.”
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Another well-known downtown shop, Wrapsody, known for its festive decorations and sorority supplies, also attested to the fact that game day weekends make all the difference in sales.
The assistant manager, Janie Mattheis, was standing behind the counter, decked in her Halloween orange, talking about the differences between the weekdays, regular weekends and game day weekends.
Mattheis said the difference was night and day. She joked that she asked to work on game days because she enjoyed the atmosphere and the people so much.
“The energy, the vibe, when there is a home game … there’s nothing like it,” she said.
Mattheis said she was surprised recently when the store has been busy on weekends that are not home games. She motioned to the areas that people line up around just to take a peek into the store.
“Maybe a thousand or more come in on a game day weekend – men, women and families,” she said.
Employee and Auburn student Brianna Manculich laughed as she hung floral printed shirts on a rack in the store.
“We have so many sorority girls coming in and getting things for their littles,” Manculich said.
The owner, Sarah Brown, is a part of the Downtown Merchant’s Association and a member of the Chamber of Commerce.
“We are involved in every way that we can be – it makes a huge difference in our business,” Mattheis said. “We are a little family here, and it’s wonderful. Getting to meet so many people from so many parts of the country and then having them fall in love with Auburn really makes a difference.”
Ellie Boutique, next to Steel City Pops downtown, is another small shop that claimed astronomical differences in sales between home game weekends and away game weekends.
Sales for Elle Boutique almost quadrupled on the first game day weekend compared to the revenue drawn from a non-home game weekend.
“It was crazy; it was hectic,” said Emily Stone, an employee at the boutique, of the first home game. “We just left the door wide open and let people pour in.”
Stone said they often sell Auburn-themed items on game day weekends. She said they would fill the racks at the front of the store with orange and blue and have to restock halfway through the day because the racks would be emptied by visitors.
“There are a lot more families on the game day weekends – people come in big groups … and they usually know what they are looking for,” said Cameron Campbell, another employee at Elle Boutique.