Manoa businesses thrive as UH community returns - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Manoa businesses thrive as UH community returns

Mallory Ramsey Mallory Ramsey
Ian Rush Ian Rush
Wendy Kim Wendy Kim
Eric Reckwerdt Eric Reckwerdt

By Leland Kim - bio | email

MANOA (KHNL) - Classes continue for a second day at the University of Hawaii campuses across the state. The school faces a $76 million budget cut as enrollment climbs, but there is some good news in all this.

Restaurants and shops around Manoa are happy school is back in session. They say summer was very slow, and are now grateful things are picking up once again.

Lunchtime customers packed this noodle restaurant near the Manoa campus. It's a popular spot for students and folks who work in the area.

"It's super close to campus and it's quite delicious," said Mallory Ramsey, a third-year student at UH Manoa who is majoring in sports marketing. "We were here last year so it's kind of a place we usually go to."

"It feels pretty good," said Ian Rush, a third-year film major at UH Manoa. "It's good to be back here and I go to a lot of the different shops around here, so it's nice to come back here and eat again and just be back with the locals."

The manager says she's had a lot more customers this week.

"Business is going up," said Zhang Hua Chen, who manages Ezogiku Noodle Café. "That's good."

She's seen about a 20 percent increase in business since school started back up.

But for businesses that cater specifically to students, the impact is that much greater. Rainbow Books & Records has seen a dramatic increase in business since school started back up.

Sales have jumped 30 percent in the past couple of weeks.

"A lot of kids come in every day selling and buying and phone calls all the time if we have this book or that book," said Wendy Kim, who manages Rainbow Books & Records. "But business has been way better."

Students come here to find cheap textbooks, but it's also a way for them to give back to the community.

"I try to do things as local as I can, because I do support, trying to build up the community," said Eric Reckwerdt, a Ph.D. student in mathematics at UH Manoa. "Especially in Hawaii where a lot of things seem to be shipped in."

For Manoa businesses, this economic boost is a much needed blessing.

"We're just doing our part as students," said Rush. "I mean, we got to keep everything going somehow."

Enrollment is up two percent at UH Manoa, from 19,143 in 2008 to 19,518 this year. So we're talking about close to 20,000 students, not to mention faculty and staff, who are now back, supporting businesses in Manoa.

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