Dover Job Growth Occurs Along U.S. 13 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Job Growth Occurs Along U.S. 13

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Burlington Coat Factory on U.S. Route 13. (Tom Lehman/WBOC) Burlington Coat Factory on U.S. Route 13. (Tom Lehman/WBOC)

Dover, Del. -- Dover has welcomed new businesses to the U.S. Route 13 corridor recent months, leading to at least 200 new part-time and full-time jobs, according to city officials.

Several new stores opened along the highway in recent weeks. The city participated in ribbon cuttings to recognize the openings of businesses like Big Lots, Burlington Coat Factory, and Mission BBQ.

Mayor Robin Christiansen said even though not all of the stores are owned locally, they do provide employment opportunities that will benefit the entire city's economy and promote Dover as a "shopping destination."

"It's going to help the businesses that already exist in town. We're happy for any and all jobs we can get because Dover is in business to do business," he said.

Longtime downtown business operators said the recent focus on Route 13 is not particularly unusual and the challenges faced in both parts of the city.

Tom Smith manages the Delaware Store on South State Street and sits atop the Downtown Dover Partnership's merchant committee. He said vacant storefronts can be found both downtown and along the highway but hopes entrepreneurs will take advantage of the real estate.

"If they drive through downtown Dover or Loockerman Street and see some vacant buildings, they should not say to themselves 'Oh this terrible.' What they should say is 'Gee, there's an opportunity."

Domonique Williams, the owner of the Brunch N' Lunch on Loockerman Street, said he thinks there's been a definite focus on Route 13 commerce but doesn't think it adversely affects downtown.

"A few weeks ago I might have thought there was not enough attention to downtown, but we got a lot of new businesses," he said.

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