Mayor Connelly, business owners hopeful ECU students will stay in town amid campus shutdown

Coronavirus

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Uptown businesses already took a financial hit this spring. That’s when East Carolina University administrators shut down the campus at the start of the pandemic.

Emily Singletary owns ‘From Marfa’, an Uptown Greenville clothing store.

She was ready for a spike in business with students and families back in town after the summer break.

Singletary says her business picked up recently.

She hopes that trend continues, despite the latest COVID shutdown.

“I think everyone is trying to stay as optimistic as possible and hoping as many people stay here in Greenville and help support the economy while also trying to stay as safe as possible and healthy. From what we’ve heard a lot of the kids are staying and trying to find off campus housing if they were in dorms but also we just don’t know what is happening quite yet in terms of who is staying and who is not,” said Singletary.

Mayor P.J. Connelly says ECU students have a huge impact on the local economy, and he hopes to keep many in the city.

“I know over the weekend I did hear a lot of students looking for places to live in the area because they do want to stay in Greenville. They do want the college experience. They understand they will not be able to live in the dorms like they traditionally were scheduled to do but I think that we will see more students stick around the area. I think there is a lot of uncertainty about what it’s going to be like in the spring semester as well,” he said.

The university will offer students prorated refunds for campus housing and dining.

Singletary hopes everyone stays safe. She’s hopeful people will want to continue to support local businesses.

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