PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —Brown’s three-day Commencement and Reunion Weekend is a joyous and memorable occasion for graduates, families, friends, alumni and the entire Brown community. And the celebrations can be monumental for others, too — including many business owners in Providence and other Rhode Island cities and towns.
Business leaders in the state’s tourism industry — from restaurants, hotels, car rental companies, gift shops, sightseeing tours and other local attractions — attribute peak sales in the spring to Rhode Island's Commencement season. Brown’s annual Memorial Day weekend celebration brings about 15,000 visitors from across the world to Providence. And with 10 other colleges and universities hosting graduation ceremonies in May and June, that number quickly escalates.
Every spring, restaurant owners like John Moubayed, who owns CAV in Providence’s Jewelry District, count on a steady influx of families eager to book reservations to commemorate milestone moments. Many say the spring months are as gainful as the bustling holiday season.
“May is our second-best month after December, and it's clearly related to the graduations,” Moubayed said. “May also comes right before the summer slowdown, so that extra profitable month helps smooth out our revenue for the year.”