Morgantown residents will soon be able to visit the new Chipotle under construction on High Street.
While some are looking forward to the restaurant coming in, others said they fear other restaurants on High Street will suffer.
“I think that High Street should be focusing on fostering a commercial space that promotes and allows local businesses to exist and thrive,” said Elizabeth Herrick, a Morgantown resident. “Bringing in corporations doesn’t benefit the local economy nearly as much and makes us look like a mall food court rather than a main street.”
In March, Casey Johnson, a senior computer science student at WVU, said that having another chain in Morgantown does nothing for the town.
“I’d rather see a mom and pop diner thriving than another chain,” Johnson said. “Supporting a small business impacts the livelihoods of people in your own community.”
Shelbe West, a landscape architecture student from Charleston, said having another chain restaurant in Morgantown won’t help create an identity within the community.
“It’s not intimate or unique to the area,” West said. “It’s just another Chipotle.”
Downtown is lined with small businesses like Retro-tique, the Blue Moose Café, Benny Velino’s and Tailpipes. Now, Chipotle will join the other chains downtown like Subway and Panera Bread.
“We’re not afraid,” said Lauren Collins, general manager of Tailpipes. “I mean, no one eats the same thing everyday. Just because they go eat at Chipotle doesn’t mean they won’t eat at Tailpipes ever again.”
Collins believes that Chipotle will bring more people downtown to see the food scene Morgantown has.
“They’ll eat at Chipotle and say, ‘Hey there’s a Tailpipes or Black Bear,’” Collins said. “It’s just good, and we’re excited.”
Delvante Barton, manager of Benny Velino’s, said he was also in favor of the new Chipotle coming in on High Street.
“It’ll be right across from us,” Barton said. “It could mean that more people would notice us and bring more people in.”
One study from the Small Business Association found that 63% of new jobs are created from small firms. However, only around half of all new small businesses survive five years or more, and about one-third survive 10 years or more.
“We’re a state that takes pride in hard work and our communities,” West said. “I feel like the only way we can move forward and begin helping to improve the economy and help our people is investing in our people.”