How Cal Poly Humboldt protests have affected Arcata businesses

Some see cancellations while others see an influx of students looking for a place to study.

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Arcata, California April 29, 2024

While all of the attention in Arcata has been on Cal Poly Humboldt, shops and restaurants have seen an impact on their business. 

“It’s this time of year when we are kind of slow, so I can’t really say that what’s going on on campus has really affected us yet,” Dante DiGenova, Owner of Northtown Books Arcata said. “Other than this one thing, we do offsite events on campus. And so, we had three events scheduled for readings and book sales and they have been postponed and canceled so that affects us, obviously.” 

Other business owners have felt more of an impact in their efforts to serve the local community. 

Malia Matsumoto, co-owner of Art Center Arcata told us, “We’ve noticed a slowdown. This is typically a time in the semester when all the art students are ramping up to finish their final projects and there’s no longer final projects that can be done because all their projects and supplies are being locked in the campus so they can’t access the to finish the culmination of their work, whether it be for the semester or their college careers.” 

Juliana Belo is Cal Poly Humboldt students and employee of Tin Can Mailman in Arcata. “I was expecting Sunday to be a little bit, not like, faster, but busier than it was.” 

When campus closed, some students went into town to look for something to do. 

“My dorm room is by the window where the parking lot is, and I’ve just noticed a lot more voices I should say,” Belo added. “I think a lot of students are like, ‘oh my gosh? No school? Let’s go do something’ so that’s what I’ve noticed.” 

Cafe Brio has also seen an increase in customers – many of whom are students  looking for places to study. 

As for the city itself, a spokesman for the city of Arcata told us while Arcata P.D. assisted building the barricades over the weekend, their focus remains on responding to and supporting the citizens of Arcata.