New businesses booming are downtown Harrisonburg

Published: Aug. 28, 2022 at 8:12 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - If you haven’t been to downtown Harrisonburg recently, things may look a little different.

New businesses have been popping up across the downtown area.

“It’s an classic old-school diner. We sell hot dogs, hamburgers, bowls of chili, all-day breakfast, and were open till midnight or later,” David Saunders, managing partner at Texas Inn said.

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

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

“I was riding by and I wanted to eat at Jess’s Quick Lunch, and it was closed. It made me kind of sad. It got me started thinking well gosh maybe I could bring another one up here,” Saunders said.

Texas Inn isn’t the only new storefront downtown.

“withSimplicity just relocated there. They bought their own building and that’s a huge step for a small business owner. There’s a coffee shop the business owner bought that too. There’s some other activity there, so by the end of the year East Market Street is gonna look completely different,” Andrea Dono, executive director of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance said.

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 just opened a second location downtown as well.

HDR is a huge partner in making these small businesses thrive downtown.

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

All of these openings are just in time for the return of college students.

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

Dono said businesses were hustling to get their doors open in time for Saturday’s downtown block party.

“A couple of thousand JMU students are walking right in front of their front doors. There’s no better advertising than that,” Dono said.