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      USC students help boost local economy

      Students visited Columbia merchants over the weekend, helping to boost the economy.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- ZPizza rolled in the dough this weekend. General Manager Michael O TMHara says on Saturday, his restaurant doubled its usual sales.

      Even into Sunday, we did a good amount of business, said O TMHara.

      Several hotels also boasted big numbers from over the weekend.

      Thursday we were 95 percent at capacity, and then Friday and Saturday we sold out, said General Manager Basil Trowbridge of the Courtyard Marriott.

      As USC makes history with its record-breaking freshman class, Trowbridge points out they too had the largest number ever of freshmen and their families stay at the hotel during move-in.

      We were sold out around the first of July for this weekend, says Trowbridge. Most parents made their reservations months in advance.

      When students were done moving in, they were stocking up. Small retailers, especially those specializing in gamecock memorabilia saw their demand multiply.

      The weekend was really fun, says employee Bri Pudney of Miss Cocky. It was busting in here. A lot of freshman girls came in with their parents to check out the store for the first time.

      Pudney says the students are a welcome sight in a slow economy.

      It's exciting to see all the new faces.