Prom economics: business as usual

Posted: Friday, May 09, 2008

The table selling prom tickets at Juneau-Douglas High School was doing brisk business Thursday, as students lined up a dozen deep to buy tickets to Saturday's big night.

Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire
Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

Though Juneau may be feeling the financial pinch of rising fuel prices and electric rates that have risen sharply because of avalanches, the economics of prom don't appear to be greatly affected.

"I think it's just such a special occasion that even this disaster won't affect spending," said senior Lindsey Collins right before buying a ticket.

At $25 each, the tickets are one of the least expensive things some students will buy for prom. Limousine rentals run at $100 an hour. Tuxedo rentals and dresses can easily surpass that. And a number of other things students spend money on, such as dinner, haircuts and manicures, in an attempt to make memories of a lifetime, can cost a pretty penny.

"It can be kind of a spendy event, it's true," said Casady Herding, an English teacher at JDHS and one of prom's organizers.

Herding said the actual event itself will cost about $10,000 for rent, decorations and prizes. The district will make that money back through ticket sales, Herding said.

The prom is open to the district's junior and senior high school students, and there are 500 tickets for sale.

Some shops that rely on prom for part of their income said that business has started out slow but has been picking up as the prom draws nearer.

Lynne Clements, who owns Martha's Flowers and Weddings, said she's seen a number of last-minute prom shoppers looking for corsages, asking her, "Can you still do it?"

And high school students have snagged the city's limo for prom night, said Jeff Wright, owner of Juneau Limousine service.

"The phone was quiet for the first week, but now it's picked back up again," Wright said.

Not every student going to prom plans on spending lots of money. Senior Ethan Hubbard said he plans on wearing a suit he already owns and is eschewing pricey trappings like a limo rental or fancy dinner. And to pay for his ticket, he said he "kinda raided my change drawer."

• Contact reporter Alan Suderman at 523-2268 or alan.suderman@juneauempire.com.



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