An oasis of discounts awaits Chapman students who know where to look. 20% off pies. 15% off pizza. 10% off coffee.
But in the past two years Tess Kramer has been a student at Chapman University, she’s never pulled out her ID for a discount.
“I don’t even know where my ID is,” Kramer said.
For those who do, many businesses near campus have offered discounts for customers who show a Chapman ID for years, with owners and managers saying it’s both smart business and good for the community. The irony, though – some community members don’t even know the discounts exist.
Kabeer Khurana, an MFA directing student, has been at Chapman University for the past seven months, but he only learned about Chapman discounts within the last week.
Khurana went to Blaze Pizza about a week ago prepared to pay $12 for his custom pie. But when his friend let him know that showing your Chapman ID gives you 10% off or a free drink, he was happy to save an extra dollar. Khurana said if his friend didn’t tell him about the discount, he never would have thought to ask.
Some businesses retracted their discounts during the height of the pandemic. A restaurant in Old Towne Orange that wished to remain anonymous said it used to offer 10% off to customers with a Chapman ID until about two months ago. They retracted the discount due to inflation and increasing prices.
Many of them have since reinstated the savings. Blaze Pizza in Old Towne Orange is back to offering 10% off or a free drink with a Chapman ID, after a brief stop to the Chapman discount during the pandemic.
Blaze manager Karina Lopez estimates 10 to 15% of the location’s profits are from Chapman students.
“It’s just good business,” Lopez said. “We don’t offer any coupons or specials, so the discount attracts students.”
The discounts, however, aren’t necessarily a sign that business is back to booming after the pandemic.
“When times are tough, such as a recession, business slows way down,” said Perry Pace, a jeweler at Renee Jewelers in Old Towne Orange. “I’ve been doing this for almost 50 years, and it’s been up and down. But there’s always something to do as long as you’re doing good service.”
Pace said he has done many jewelry repairs for Chapman faculty and students and enjoys interacting with the community. At Renee Jewelers, a Chapman ID grants customers 30% off their purchase.
“The part I really enjoy is the looks on people’s faces when you do something really special for them,” Pace said. “I love what I do.”
Samy Soliman, owner of OC Diamond Escape Jewelry in Old Towne Orange, said his business is not yet back to pre-pandemic levels. Even so, he’s happy to continue offering 20% off to customers with a Chapman ID.
“Show me your report card; if you get all A’s, I’ll give you a gift,” Soliman said.
Soliman said he wants to motivate students to excel academically. If that means giving out free jewelry, he’s happy to do it.
Soliman isn’t the only business owner trying to support local customers. Daman Singh, owner of The Pie Hole in Old Towne Orange, offers 20% off for anyone with a Chapman ID. He said when he bought the store three years ago the policy was already put in place, but he decided to keep it because, “it’s good for the community.”
Pie isn’t the only food you can find discounts for in Old Towne Orange. Watson’s Soda Fountain and Cafe offers 10% off for Chapman students (excluding baked goods). Kendyl Skeffington, owner of Kiki’s Corner, a cafe located within Watson’s, says the restaurant, “want[s] to be accessible and affordable to Chapman students… [and they] love the community of Orange.”
The savings extend even beyond the Orange Plaza.
The Glow Haus in Placentia offers $10 off spray tans with a Chapman ID – a policy that began when they were located in Orange before moving in July 2021. Owner Katie Jacob said about 20% of her business comes from Chapman, mostly made up of dancers and sorority members.
“We just wanted to make sure students knew we supported them and that they can still get a spray tan for events like rush, date parties and formals on a budget,” Jacob said.
From food to jewelry to even spray tans, a Chapman ID is a magic key that can unlock a cheaper world. Kramer can only hope she finds hers.
Adrienne Mitchel is a broadcast journalism and documentary student from the San Francisco Bay Area with a passion for storytelling. In her free time, she loves trying new food and playing the piano.