TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - You don't have to walk far down University Boulevard to find the signs that students are returning to the University of Arizona campus.
Sidewalks are filling up and shops have "Hiring Now" signs in their windows.
Marcus Van Winden, owner of The Dutch Bakery and Refuge, said his staff is back to capacity after the summer months. He took over ownership in May 2016, right before thousands of potential customers left Tucson.
"Everyone said I was crazy to start right before the summer, because it was so dead slow," he said.
Van Winden said he used the scaled-back staff and customers to fine-tune the restaurant. A performance at Centennial Hall in June was a nice gauge of what to expect during concerts, but he said nothing compares to the return of students.
"It's going to be nice and crazy busy for us," Van Winden said.
Cassie Cady at Scented Leaf Tea House and Lounge said she makes an effort to build a rapport with regular customers, who kept the cash flow from dwindling down to a trickle.
"I know a lot of our customers by name so that definitely makes a difference," she said.
The shop is already seeing more customers with Greek Life returning to Tucson sooner than most of the other students. Cady said the fall semester is a crucial time for attracting new customers with a strong first impression. A new student could be the next regular customer.
"They are a major aspect of our business, that's for sure," Cady said.
An estimated 1,800 more students will be moving into on-campus housing on Thursday, Aug. 17.