A boom in business for the old and new

DKS Editors

It’s exactly what the city had been hoping for.

For years, we’ve heard about the problem of students not going downtown. And for years, we’ve heard about renovating downtown to bring students there.

Now, it seems the city is well on its way to solving those problems.

Six months ago, shops in Acorn Alley began opening, the first step of the Downtown Revitalization Project. And it was just in time for students returning from summer vacation to make getting off campus and taking advantage of what the city offers part of their weekly routine.

During that first week of the Fall 2009 semester, buses brought freshmen downtown so they could see what the city had to offer. Returning students, too, flocked to see the new additions to their old home. For many of them, it was probably their first visit to fully explore all downtown has to offer.

But those students likely didn’t just discover the new Acorn Alley shops like the Pita Pit, Fig Leaf, and more recently, the Dancing Beta. According to Wednesday’s article, “Businesses boom downtown,” students have been flocking not just there, but elsewhere on Main Street.

Owners of Empire, a chocolate shop, Last Exit Books and The Works, a gift shop — all of which existed in Kent before Acorn Alley — have all said they’ve noticed higher traffic to downtown as a whole, not just the new additions.

This is obviously a good thing. Before this year, students may not have gone out of their way to visit some of the more longstanding shops because it might not have been worth their time to make the trip. Now there’s enough to fill a whole afternoon — a multitude of dining options to choose from, book and record shops, specialty food stores, gift shops and even a clothing boutique for women.

You’re almost cheating yourself out of an experience if you haven’t yet taken a look around.

And with yesterday’s announcement of PARTA’s $20 million grant for a new multi-modal facility, it seems like things will only get better. The center is set to encompass a shopping strip and parking garage, and function as a gateway to the city.

As more and more new shops and features pop up around the city of Kent, we hope students will continue to take advantage of everything, and business will continue to boom. And at the same time, we hope those longtime gems of Kent will continue to thrive, and not lose their luster.

So far, booming business seems to have been a chain effect — as new shops sprout up, the old benefit, too. If that continues, Kent State students of the future have a lot to look forward to.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.