Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
In an effort to familiarize first-year students with Swarthmore’s Town Center, often called “the Ville,” the borough is offering tours this Saturday afternoon.
Though the college’s campus offers a lot, said Swarthmore Mayor Eck Gerner, “it’s important to let students know what’s here” and to give them a chance to meet merchants.
Tours will start at the train station from 12 to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Swarthmore Town Center, Inc., a board of volunteers that oversees activities in the community, is in charge of the tours.
“Certainly the town can’t meet all demands, but if [students] need a gift, need food, then they can come into town,” said Town Center Coordinator Marty Spiegel.
And, he added, there’s an advantage to shopping at small, locally run stores.
“It’s a much more personal relationship,” said Spiegel. “You can go to a mall and the employee could care less.”
Joyce Walker-Bruce, owner of Swarthmore Flower & Gift Shop, said that when her family took over the floral shop a year and a half ago she expected there to be more college students shopping at her store. Students, however, might not be familiar enough with her store and others’, she said.
“We have gifts for a lot of occasions,” said Walker-Bruce. “Maybe kids don’t realize that.”
Cindy Azzarano, whose family owns Poco Loco, agreed.
“We see college students every now and then, but not as much as we’d like,” she said. “It’d be nice to see a few more.”
Spiegel said that if students don’t find anything that interests them in the Town Center then there should be a dialogue about what should change. He wants the town to fulfill what students need and want, he said.
“I know things get really busy” throughout the school year, said Spiegel. But he hopes that “once [students] get oriented they’ll come back.”