San Jose businesses await return of students to help boost local economy
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – Over the past year and a half, downtown San Jose has undergone some changes brought on by the pandemic.
Many businesses have been forced to temporarily close their doors, some for good, but the downtown area and the city as a whole may soon experience a resurgence thanks to a local driving force.
“Every dollar of state funding generates $ 24 in economic return for the SJSU,” said Kenneth Mashinchi, senior director of strategic communications and media relations at SJSU.
A recent study published by San José State University and Beacon Economics, shows that the university, before COVID-19, contributed $ 4.1 billion statewide.
“But also the social impact was the other part of the report that we really wanted to capture, over 83% of our students are people of color, 42% of the first generation,” Mashinchi added. “Not only that, they end up working at big companies like Apple, Google and Facebook in Silicon Valley.”
In the Bay Area and Silicon Valley alone, SJSU generates $ 2.4 billion and $ 1.8 billion in economic output, respectively.
With SJSU set to return to campus this fall, students can be a huge driving force in the city’s economic recovery.
“It’s a different vibe when you’re here [in San Jose] there is dynamism with the students, many of them are traditional 18-22 age students, ”Mashinchi said. “But we also have non-traditional students with families who also contribute downtown, restaurants, rental properties or buying homes.”
A February Santa Clara County report found 2,600 restaurants have temporarily closed, while 1,000 others have closed permanently, but with students returning soon, downtown businesses are looking to capitalize.
“We can’t wait, we wait, we’ve waited so long that everyone knows that,” said Jennifer Echeverri, owner of Habana Cuba located at the SoFA Market in downtown San Jose. “The atmosphere when the students are there is very positive and energetic. We will try to do everything possible to encourage them to come and eat in Habana Cuba, eat at the SoFA Market.
Restaurants, like Habana Cuba, rely on student clientele and have special offers throughout the week to bring in students.
“We have Thursday specials for $ 3 all day and that kind of bait attracts students,” Echeverri said. “We want them to come in and feel comfortable and study.”
It’s still unclear how big the booming student return will be in the fall, as the SJSU requires students to be fully immunized before entering campus.