Returning students fill downtown, boost business

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia population increased today as college students started to move back for the school year. More people means more foot traffic downtown.

Steve Dillard, the owner of Tiger Spirit, said his store relies on students and families buying Mizzou gear. 

"We get used to the ebbs and flows," Dillard said. "We hope that everybody has successes, the hotels, the restaurants and of course retail."

There were visibly more people downtown shopping and grabbing lunch as more than 4,000 new students moved in Wednesday. 

"We've seen quite the influx today," Dillard said.

Sparky's Ice Cream employee Ryan Matticker said the ice cream joint's busiest time is during the summer when a lot of students aren't around. 

"We rely on the students a good amount," Matticker said. "But we always have townies, too."

Mizzou's fall semester begins on Aug. 19th.