New University of Windsor students boost downtown businesses
Businesses in downtown Windsor are getting a boost from the many new students who now attending classes in the area, but business owners say things will improve further as that population grows in future.
"We see the results, we see the results coming," Larry Horwitz, chair of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association, said in an interview with CBC News.
"The School of Social Work has partially opened and the restaurants in the area [and] some of the retail shops are doing quite well because of it."
There's still a lot of work to do.
"Our first goal is to fill up every storefront that exists," Horwitz said. "We have still empty shops, throughout the core. We're slowly filling them up."
He estimates that about 10 businesses have "taken a shot" in the downtown core, in part because they believe the university and college will continue to expand their footprint there.
"There's an excitement, there's a real sense of downtown is the future," Horwitz said, citing the possible law-school move to the Paul Martin Building as one example of opportunity that could be coming to the area.
Ryan Smith, the owner of the Pause Café on Chatham Street, has seen a marked improvement in his business since the School of Social Work opened a few weeks ago.
"Business has really picked up," Smith told CBC News, estimating that it may have doubled during that time.
Rachel Demarco, a third-year social work student, is one of those customers coming into Smith's business, when she is taking classes at the new downtown building.
"They have just really good service, so I always come here," she said.
Demarco said that not many students have picked up on the Pause Café just yet, but she said it's getting busier.
"I think more people are finding out about it," she said.
Horwitz said that as long as the downtown continues to turn into something that will draw in people, it will become a place where businesses can thrive.
"We believe that businesses will succeed, they will be able to pay their taxes and utilities, plus make a profit to feed their families if we continue to move in that direction and make downtown attractive for businesses and for residents and others," he said.
With files from the CBC's Dale Molnar