NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Hope Newberry is one of more than 1,300 freshman starting at Yale this week. All the way from Tennessee, she and her family made Claire’s Corner Copia their first stop in New Haven after landing in Hartford this morning.
“I love Claire’s. I love Pepe’s Pizza and I also just like to walk along the streets and see the little local shops,” said Hope.
Nearly two hours after the normal lunch rush Claire’s was still booming. Owner Claire LaPia says back to school means big business.
“It’s just wonderful. It’s positive energy. You’re getting the students back, you’re getting the faculty.You’re getting beautiful summer weather and you’re getting fabulous summer produce. It all converges with abundance of joy,” said LaPia.
The back to school rush can be felt all over downtown. Two blocks up from Claire’s, Atticus Bookstore Cafe is also seeing an increase in business.
“We try to reach out to the freshman to get them excited to get them to know Atticus. We were doing small dollar iced coffees all summer into the fall so that Yale students come in,” said co-owner Charles Negaro.
Yale has a total population of over 12,000 students. Throw in nearby University of New Haven, Gateway and Albertus Magnus College and New Haven will see a huge influx in both people and cash in the next few days.
“I think New Haven is really coming into its own. We’re starting to become one of the greatest small city’s in the United States,” said Negaro.
Back at Claire’s that’s a sentiment shared by Hope and her parents.
“We probably will be at some of the local eateries and maybe the bookstore. But, we’re on a budget so we aren’t gonna be too extravagant. We’re excited,” said Will Newberry, Hope’s father.
“It’s definitely a new adventure and a new place that’s very different from my home. But, I just love the culture and I’m so excited for this new year,” said Hope.