Money Watchers: Retail resurgence in Providence

From tourists to students to skateboarders, Westminster Street in Providence is full of life.

"It's great because there are so many other cool things on Westminster, as well as having a skate shop here. It's good, because I've known these guys for years and they do cool things for the community and it just helps a lot," said Derek Delahunt of North Kingstown.

Until now, businesses tended to come and go - not enough shoppers to keep them open and not enough businesses to attract shoppers.

But the Providence Foundation said those days are finally over.

"I think we've reached that critical mass. When you add in, you have about 4,500 residents. But beyond that, the number of students, tourists, the conventioneers, and about 400,000 people live within a half, well, within a mile of downtown, it's still the center of the state when you look at density," said Dan Baudoin of the Providence Foundation.

He said 25 new restaurants and retailers have opened in the last year. Flan y ajo, a restaurant, has been open for two years.

"Every month it feels like there's more people downtown. People like hanging out downtown. It's really close to the train station, the bus station. The hotels are here, so people from out of town just gravitate toward downtown Providence," said Siobhan Chavarria of Flan y ajo.

And when the theater lets out or an event at the Dunkin' Donuts Center ends, the place is buzzing after dark too.

"It feels like the only alive place in Providence at night," Chavarria said.