Students need later hours

Manager Samuel Lingenfelter is shown cashing out some regulars orders at Red Eye coffee house. Friday, Nov. 22. (Maddison Godi/Reporter)

By Maddison Godi, reporter

SAGINAW— Students are searching for late hours in the Tri-Cities. For local Delta College student Helen Brooks she finds most of her available time in the evening, “I usually do all my homework past 9 p.m. because I do not get out of class till 9 p.m.” Having a busy workday surrounded by classes does not relieve time for students like Helen to find time to study or have time for friends.

Throughout the Tri-Cities, there are no college town amenities like late-night libraries or coffee shops. Unless it is a bar or Deja Vu, nothing stays open past 10 p.m for students to meet up and hang out, study or chill.

Between Saginaw Valley State University, Northwood, Davenport University and Delta College, there are thousands of students commuting throughout the Tri-Cities. Yet, while walking through Midland, Bay City and Saginaw in the evening, there is a lack of youth. This is due to local businesses not pulling students out by staying open late.

Multiple local coffee shops in Bay City and Midland only keep their doors open until 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. Their weekend hours are even shorter—they open later and close earlier, or are not open at all. The end of the week is a time for students to be out enjoying themselves but these businesses are keeping them indoors.

“We stay open mostly to give people a place to hang out,” said Samuel deZeng Lingenfelter, manager of Red Eye coffee house.

There is one location from Saginaw that does draw all ages from their homes to socialize. Red Eye coffee house has been around since 1993 and has been the nightlife hub ever since. The cozy atmosphere and staff welcomes people in and catching up with friends keeps them there for hours.

“I’m hanging on to an idea that people still want to hang out and talk face to face,” said Lingenfelter. “I find coffee to be one of the popular products to bring people together.”

Students are required to study and produce projects and papers weekly. It is hard to find a place to meet up when local businesses close their doors before 8 p.m.

This does not leave time for those working or going to class to enjoy a chill, atmosphere into the night. Red Eye has focused on keeping their doors open till 10 p.m. every night of the week.

“I’ll normally hang out at a house or something because my friends and I know there is nothing to do,” said Kelly Lore, Delta student.

The people that have been coming to Red Eye for the past 25 years have made it into a family environment. Local graduates come in to catch up and talk about college. Parents bring their kids to try the cookies displayed on the counter. Couples lounge on the couches in the back room. Everyone is welcome.

In Oct. 2018, a chain of robberies took place in Saginaw and Red Eye was a target. “This was the first robbery in 20 plus years,” said Lingenfelter, “but since it did happen I think it might deter people.”

A year later, based on crowds in attendance, it is obvious people still feel safe within Red Eye’s walls. Children are still walked through the doors and groups of friends are still comfortable seating themselves around tables.

“I think when it is dark outside people do not feel as safe,” said Lingenfelter, “this is a misconception. If it was truly dangerous people wouldn’t be down here.”

If everyone is kept cooped inside their homes glued to their technology, how are they expected to live a spontaneous life? Many will benefit from the Tri-Cities turning into a late-night hub.

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