"After 3 weeks it's nice to be back," said Smith.
He's one of the thousands of students who are back from winter break and helping out nearby businesses.
Kati Case -- owner of Case Coffee -- said she's grateful for returning students who make up a large part of her customer base...
"The university is a big part of our business," said Case.
"I would say when the university comes back it's about a 50-percent jump in business so it's a big part of our business," she continued.
Student, Ben Smith understands why students are so important to Case's business.
"Get's pretty quiet when school's out there's not many people in here and right when school comes in you can tell there's a lot more people everywhere," said Smith.
And despite the bad economy, Case says her coffee shop has done well.
"It's actually really great for us because a lot of people are going back to get higher education so the numbers at the university are up which means our numbers are up and they need lots of coffee so that's always good," said Case.
Her business has grown over the last 5 years and she expects more of the same as SOU's enrollment grows and students continue to filter in.
And it's not just Southern Oregon University -- Rogue Community College started their classes today. Businesses near the Medford RCC campus say they expect to see a lot more business this week.