People walk through Continental Square in York City on Thursday. Downtown pedistrian traffic grows about 18 percent between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Central
People walk through Continental Square in York City on Thursday. Downtown pedistrian traffic grows about 18 percent between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Central Market days, according to a study. (John A. Pavoncello photo)

A dozen businesses are eyeing York City as their potential new zip code.

Of the 486 regional companies the York County Economic Alliance has reached out to, 40 have come to town for a visit, and 12 are "very actively" considering opening their doors downtown, according to Blanda Nace, senior development manager for the YCEA.

The return is "not too shabby," he said.

Businesses that might open their doors in York include a hookah bar, nightclub, wine bar, men's clothing store, toy store, an Indian restaurant and more, Nace said.

"I can't make any announcements yet," he said.

But he said he's hopeful.

Nace and his YCEA colleagues have been actively recruiting businesses to the city, reaching out to companies throughout neighboring counties and Maryland.

"If someone is considering opening a second location, we tell them to consider York. If someone is scared about the direction Harrisburg is going, we say consider York," he said.

He said the group isn't poaching businesses; instead, it's acting like a Realtor.

The goal: "We're trying to pair the right business with the right space in York," Nace said.

The biggest challenge in attracting businesses to York is often found with property owners, he said.

"If a landlord has had a property vacant for 10 years, they might want to consider being flexible on the price. But they're not," Nace said.

In situations like that, the group is connecting businesses with lenders that can help, he said.

A boon to recruiters has been the spirit of the city and pedestrian traffic generated by Central Market.

"People really like the momentum here," Nace said.

The businesses based around Central Market will see the most foot traffic, he said.

Market traffic: From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, nearly 17,000 pedestrians cross streets surrounding the market, according pedestrian count study funded by Downtown Inc and facilitated by Transportation Resource Group, Inc.

There's an 18 percent increase in foot traffic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays when Central Market is open, according to the study. The market is also open on Saturdays, but weekend days weren't tracked during the study.

The biggest influx is spotted at the intersection of West Philadelphia and North Beaver streets. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (non-market days), 570 cross the streets there. When Central Market is open, 1,387 pedestrians cross the streets--a 143 percent increase.

Those numbers help an "astute audience" show real interest in York, Nace said.

-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at cwoo dall@yorkdispatch.com.