AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A big day at UMass Amherst on Thursday. More than 5,500 first-year students will be headed to campus to move in. And it’s not just the university preparing for this influx in students, but also area businesses who benefit from this return to campus.

On Wednesday evening in downtown Amherst and Northampton, there were plenty of college students present and exploring western Massachusetts.

Summer is coming to a close and schools are welcoming back students here in downtown Amherst from the restaurants to the stores, and coffee shops the town is already bustling with students.

“Honestly if you just look downtown a large percentage of the population is college students said Annika Paylor, a student who spent their summer at Amherst College and is now feeling the excitement of the new semester as more students move back to the area.

“Definitely having everybody back is really nice. Everything feels a lot more alive. And even more students are on the way,” said Paylor. UMass Amherst will be welcoming just over 5,500 first-year students this fall. And between UMass and the surrounding colleges businesses are gearing up for a busy season.

A staple in downtown Northampton looking forward to serving some familiar faces treating themselves over a study break. 22News spoke with Judith Herrell of Herrell’s Ice Cream in Northampton who says “We are going to be slammed for a couple of weeks while all the students say ‘hey! we are back in school! So happy to see you, let’s get ice cream!’ So it’s really exciting and it’s actually a lot of fun once students come back.”

Herrell added, that this welcome back to campus is also a relief for the businesses eager to get student workers onto their payroll with many help wanted signs still up in windows.

First-year students will move in Thursday at UMass from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. so if your commute takes in the surrounding area expect some increased traffic.