Tucson, With the Help of Young Graduates, Could Blossom

New businesses and shops are popping up all over downtown Tucson, making it the “hip place to live,” according to some locals. Area businesses and civic associations are making efforts to entice young people across the country to move to Tucson and stay. The Sun Link streetcar, which just celebrated its millionth rider, has brought an influx of people to the downtown area.

During school, University of Arizona students crowd the city streets flocking to a small downtown region lined with distilleries, restaurants and music venues.

As the weather gets warmer, the sidewalks clear and most students return to their hometowns. Downtown, though, doesn’t shut down the way it used to because it has become a destination.

John Jacobs is a director at the Downtown Tucson Partnership, one of several business associations working to get students to stay for the long haul.

“We want to show them that there’s opportunities,” said Mr. Jacobs. “At the same time we want to show students that there’s a chance to incubate a company here, start companies here — just like anywhere else.”

Startup Tucson is one of several groups offering resources and funds to help foster new small businesses. While their goal is to turn Tucson into the Silicon Valley of the Southwest, others say that Tucson is a good place for any type of cool new shop.

Israel Zavala is the founder of a new clothing company called The Underestimated City in Tucson’s downtown area. He calls Tucson an “untapped oil field” and says Tucson has a hip, young scene that’s only going to grow.

“There’s so much in Tucson that everyone fails to see,” said Mr. Zavala.