By Hugh Garbrick
For The Diamondback
Emily Moore has been a customer of Bagel Place of College Park since she was a student at the University of Maryland.
Now, having graduated from this university nearly 10 years ago, Moore said this restaurant has remained a landmark of the city because of its "existing clientele."
"It's my favorite place to eat in College Park," Moore said. "It's one of the reasons we bought our house five miles from here."
Restaurants in College Park face unique challenges to stay in business, as many of their patrons — University of Maryland students — often flock elsewhere over summer and winter breaks.
Despite these slower times, businesses in the city must pay the same rate for their leases, said Ryan Chelton, the city's economic development coordinator. Though Chelton said the city's turnover rate "may be a little higher than normal" due to slower season, he said the city still has a "healthy number of businesses that have been here for a while."
Bagel Place of College Park opened in 1983, said Simeon Alexander, a manager at the restaurant.
This establishment has remained strong in this community throughout its economic and retail changes, Alexander said.
"I think it's just the consistency that people like, and a reliability that they know we're going to be here," Alexander said.
Another long-standing restaurant in the city, R.J. Bentley's, opened in 1978, said John Brown, the restaurant's owner. This establishment has succeeded because of its ability to adapt and hard work, he added.
"The most import thing you can do in any business is to identify who your market is and work hard to satisfy that market," Brown said. "You can never rest on the fact, 'We are great,' you're not great. You earn great every day."
However, as the city and the university move forward with the University District Vision 2020, a plan to transform College Park into a top-20 college town, newer restaurants and businesses are moving into the area.
Eric Olson, executive director of College Park City-University Partnership, said he doesn't think College Park has a problem with high turnover. Instead, Olson said an increasing amount of retailers are interested in relocating to the city.
"There's more restaurants that want to be here than we have space for," Olson said. "We're getting more variety. … I think we're succeeding. I think we're a place where people want to be."
Four restaurants were added to Route 1 in the fall, located on the first floor of The Hotel at the University of Maryland, as well as Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza, which opened in July.
Despite this growth, restaurants such as Fat Pete's, which opened in October 2016, and Kiyoko Express, a sushi restaurant located at 7313 Baltimore Ave., both closed their doors this semester.
Fat Pete's will be replaced by the Stuffed Turtle, an eatery offering customers cheesesteaks, and at the former site of Kiyoko Express, a Poké-Man, a restaurant serving poke bowls, will open. Specific opening dates for these new restaurants have not yet been determined.
"We have had a lot more turnover in the past," said Olson. "We've had some bars and restaurants come and go, you know, over the decades. But you've also had the mainstays like Bentley's that have been here."