Filling empty storefronts is a major focus for College Station this summer
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - One major focus for the City of College Station this summer is to fill up the empty store spaces left behind by businesses that closed during the pandemic.
They’re peppered throughout town and some are more noticeable than others, but College Station Economic Development Manager Aubrey Nettles says those empty storefronts in the city are starting to see new businesses inside them again.
“Retail tenants that we were talking to prior to COVID-19 are now coming back and saying, ‘Okay, we’re ready.’ We’re ready to make that decision to locate in College Station,” Nettles said.
Nettles says one reason College Station is an attractive location right now is because of its strong sales tax numbers, but the local market is even hotter than it was in the year before the pandemic.
“When I talk to my broker friends, they tell me that they are the busiest they’ve been in over seven years,” Nettles said. “The market is just doing so well and rebounding so fast, and I think a lot of that also has to do with Texas A&M University and their decision to open back up at full capacity.”
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Spots on University Drive are getting the most interest.
“We’re seeing those fill up very quickly. That’s been really great to see,” Nettles said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that Red Lobster gets filled up soon. I know the Abuelo’s is getting some attention as well. I think the ones on Texas Avenue will be next.”
Many of these new stores will open this summer, Nettles says. One of them is 511 Tactical, which is moving into the same building where Skechers is located on University Drive.
“More people are going to be here in the same lot. They’re going to say, ‘Oh, it’s a Skechers. Might as well stop by,’” Skechers Assistant Manager Brianna Vargas said. “But since it is a clothing store, we do sell apparel here, so that might be a little competitive.”
Other stores with vacant neighbors agree, but they think it’s more likely a new face is good for them.
Marco’s Pizza is located next to where Genghis Grill used to be, also on University. Bobby Jones is a delivery driver there.
“It might just bring more customers to be able to look at Marco’s and be like, ‘Oh, I’ve never seen Marco’s before. I want to try it out,’” Jones said. “You never know.”
“I would say we in general look at it as a good thing,” Ethan Massey, who is a server at Grub, said. “We welcome competition. It brings more people to this area, and I just think it’s good for College Station in general.”
Nettles says to keep an eye out for new announcements throughout the summer because the city is getting new inquires from businesses all across the nation every day.
“We’re just thrilled to see so many people seeing the potential in College Station,” Nettles said. “It not only gives our citizens and visitors more opportunities to shop and have a great time, but it also provides jobs for our citizens and students. It just gives an overall look that our community is vibrant and thriving.”
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