Manhattan businesses participate in K-State Homecoming

Members of Sigma Kappa, Beta Theta Pi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Kappa Alpha Psi paint Subway's window in Aggieville during Paint the 'Ville in Aggiville on Oct. 21, 2014. (File Photo by Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian)

One way Manhattan businesses participate in Homecoming Week is by allowing students to paint murals outside their store windows for an event known as “Paint The ‘Ville.” This tradition is something students from different campus clubs and organizations have been doing during Homecoming Week for years.

“We’ve being doing (Paint The ‘Ville) since we opened in 2009,” Jeff Koenig, owner of Big Poppi Bicycle Co., said. “It’s such a cultural event that draws from the fraternity community and some of the student communities to be a part of it.”

Businesses in Aggieville such as Varney’s, Cold Stone Creamery and Subway are just some of the multiple companies who participate in the occasion. By including these shops and restaurants in the celebration, businesses have the opportunity to experience the liveliness of Homecoming Week as well.

“Cold Stone has been participating in Paint the ‘Ville every year for the past six years, while also passing out candy to trick-or-treaters before the parade,” Rob Hayes, owner of Cold Stone Creamery in Manhattan, said.

The Homecoming Parade will pass through Moro Street in Aggieville and downtown Manhattan. According to the K-State Alumni Association’s website, the parade allows the “K-State alumni, friends and the Manhattan community (to) gather for the highlight of Homecoming week,” which will bring people by the windows of the stores that line the street.

“Everyone supplied their own paint, so really the only thing that we did was make sure that the windows were clean and clear for them to work,” Sophie Lorson, a former Varney’s employee, said.

Like Lorson, many of the employees whose windows were painted would watch as the students transformed their windows.

“They spent a week total time working on the windows, but people were working for a couple hours each day,” Lorson said.

Koenig said that the time students spent on these murals did not go unnoticed; they drew customers in to explore the stores.

“We definitely see more natural, organic foot traffic coming through the door,” Koenig said.

With all the people who attend the Homecoming Parade, Hayes said they attract more than their usual number of customers.

“There is so much activity going on already in Aggieville that day, and (the Homecoming Parade) definitely adds to the excitement,” Hayes said.

“Paint the ‘Ville” allows not only the students to get involved in Homecoming activities, but also the local businesses. It gives the local community more business while also showing support for the university.