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Davis, California

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

New businesses move into town despite economy

In the midst of an economic downturn it might seem like businesses would be closing, but that is not the case for many new businesses that have recently opened in Davis.

“Davis is a great environment for a business because the UC brings so many college students into town,” said Allen Nguyen, general manager of Davis Sushi Buffet at 707 Second St., which opened June 1.

Although there are mixed reactions to the state of the economy among business owners, most new business owners have a similar outlook on the economy in Davis.

Yolo Berry Yogurt owner Lee Pflugrath, said Davis is “a sleeping giant for businesses.”

Pflugrath, who has been in the restaurant business for 25 years, says he decided to open up the store at 316 C St. because there is a big market for health products in Davis, and their yogurt, YoCream, is the healthiest.

“The economic downturn will help benefit us because our yogurt is still relatively cheap. Rent is about the same, and people are still willing to splurge on sweets, especially when it’s a healthy choice,” Pflugrath said.

De Colores Fair Trade Gifts just opened up at 713 Second Street after closing its E Street location in July. Opened on Oct. 10, its handmade faire trade creations of artisan jewelry, crafts and music will be a favorite for those looking for items for Día de los Muertos on Nov. 2.

Owner Miki Yoneda said rent prices help small businesses stay open.

“With the bad economy [those who rent out buildings] are motivated to keep as many tenants as possible, so that helps with rent. Also, coming to De Colores is passed down to generations – parents bring their children,” Yoneda said.

Uncle Vito’s Slice of NY at 520 Second St. opened for dinner on Oct. 25 and will open for both lunch and dinner on Nov. 1. The location was formerly occupied by Wok ‘N Roll and Davis Driving School. Uncle Vito’s restaurant owners Dave Virga and Mark Scribner also own Paesano’s Pizzas in Sacramento and Elk Grove, and Paesano’s Panto in Sacramento.

“In light of the economic downturn there hasn’t been much of an effect on our revenues in our other locations, so we’re going to forge ahead and be optimistic,” Vito’s operations manager Dana Scarpuola said. “We are value oriented, and our pricing is budget friendly, so that helps customers.”

The popular tapioca franchise Quickly opened at 640 West Covell Blvd. on Oct. 25. Owner and manager Tim Tai also opened Ohana Hawaiian BBQ at University Mall last year. He fully remodeled the Quickly location before its opening.

“[My business] will help economic growth in Davis,” Tai said. “[The economic downturn] actually helps my business because there is less competition.”

Crepe House Uni, which serves Japanese-style crepes, opened Sept. 20 at 117 E St.

“Less people are willing to dine out, but Davis’ economy is a lot more stable compared to other cities,” said owner Sagat Cheung.


ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached at city@californiaaggie.com.


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