Area businesses could see a drop with lower numbers at MU

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COLUMBIA - Area businesses will most likely be impacted by the recent drop in MU enrollment.

The university has about 2,000 fewer students attending this year compared to last.

Columbia Chamber of Commerce member, Jolyn Sattizahan, said the drop will affect local businesses.  He and it's something the city has paid attention to in recent months.

“We don’t monitor the enrollment at Mizzou per say, other than were aware of the enrollment trends, and the University of Missouri is one of the larger economic drivers and engines in Columbia so anytime there’s a significant change in the population or enrollment in the university we do see the trickle effect in the rest of our economy and our businesses both downtown and community wide,” Sattizahan said.

A shift leader at the downtown Seoul Taco, Dylan Couch, admits around 65 to 70 percent of their customers go to MU.  He said there is a wait-and-see approach as to how much business is affected.

“Were not cooking as much as we normally would, but that’s also coming off the summer months where we normally don’t cook as much so were still getting adjusted to see exactly how much we need,” Couch said.

However, there is one development that might help businesses,  but it’s one that's been met with controversy.

More student housing units being built downtown might help those businesses.

“With more students living downtown kind of the effects of the enrollment drop might be a little bit more dispersed throughout our community. Those students have a lot of buying power and now that they’re living kind of all over the community I think we’ll see the effects spread out,” Sattizahan said.

She also said with the commerce the city expected there was going to be a drop.

For now, though, it is mostly a waiting game to see just how much the businesses are impacted.