Booming new businesses are in downtown Harrisonburg

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — If you haven’t been to downtown Harrisonburg lately, things might look a little different.

New businesses have sprung up in the city centre.

“This is a classic old school restaurant. We sell hot dogs, burgers, bowls of chili, all day breakfast and were open until midnight or later,” said David Saunders, managing partner of Texas Inn.

Texas Inn is one of the newest restaurants to debut downtown.

Saunders has two kids at JMU and thought where better to bring a diner-style restaurant.

“I was riding by and wanted to eat at Jess’s Quick Lunch, and it was closed. It made me a little sad. It made me start thinking maybe I could bring another one here,” Saunders said.

Texas Inn isn’t the only new downtown storefront.

“WithSimplicty just moved there. They bought their own building, and that’s a huge step for a small business owner. There is also a cafe that the business owner bought. There’s another activity there, so by the end of the year, East Market Street will look completely different,” said Andrea Dono, executive director of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance.

That’s not all, a Mexican food truck now sits in front of Kline’s, and for all your game day needs, The University Outpost has also just opened a second location downtown.

HDR is an important partner in helping these small downtown businesses thrive.

“It’s a perfect storm of willing entrepreneurs and available space and a great community to support them,” Dono said.

All these openings arrive just in time for the return of middle school students.

“We opened on block party day and people were waiting for us at 7 a.m. to open,” Saunders said.

Dono said businesses are scrambling to open their doors in time for Saturday’s downtown block party.

“A few thousand JMU students are walking right outside their front door, there’s no better publicity than that,” Dono said.

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