Chico State commencement brings grads and families downtown

Action News Now reporter Carmela Karcher talked to business owners about the increase in activity in downtown Chico.

Posted: May 16, 2021 11:59 AM
Updated: May 17, 2021 11:11 AM

CHICO, Calif. – Downtown Chico is looking busy lately, with graduation ceremonies starting up on campus at the University Stadium and online on Sunday.

Action News Now reporter Carmela Karcher went to the downtown area this weekend to check on local business activity. She saw a lot of increased foot traffic, and had trouble finding a parking space easily.

Related: What you need to know about Chico State graduation

Javier Franco is the General Manager of the Mexican restaurant Tres Hombres in downtown Chico. Franco exclaimed, “the line is out the door!”
Restaurants, shops, and downtown sidewalks were all crowded with people this weekend.

Business owners were very happy to see the crowds, saying they had not seen this many people downtown in months.

Franco said, “A lot of people have been scrambling to find somewhere because they didn’t even know if there was going to be a graduation.”

Franco said his restaurant’s phone has been ringing off the hook. He said he is pretty much booked up, and said everyone else in the downtown seems to be booked up too.

The owner of the clothing store Urban Couture, Kelly Leser, said, “It’s amazing to see the streets filled with life again.”

Leser said she just hired five new employees because the downtown area is now so busy.

“I feel very blessed,” Leser said, adding that she is hearing the same reaction from her neighbors as well.

“Just seeing people smiling and enjoying one another and seeing families that haven’t had the opportunity to be together that are reuniting – you get to be a part of that,” she explained.

“Now that they feel okay to come out… we’ve seen a lot of tears and bonding again,” she said.

That’s been really special to watch,” said Leser.

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