Campustown comes alive again with sidewalk sales


Daily Illini file photo

Campustown businesses aren’t letting ongoing construction affect their shops this summer, as they participate in the Champaign Center Partnership’s 13 Thursdays. Each Thursday, participating locations offer deals and discounts to residents to attract more people to campus.

By Jessica Bursztynsky, Interim Editor-in-Chief

Each Thursday this past summer Campustown has seemed a bit more lively as local businesses participated in the Champaign Center Partnership’s 13 Thursdays, an event in which shops offer deals to target those who normally avoid campus.

The goal is for C-U residents to support local businesses and realize “it (campus) is not scary, parking is available,” said Champaign Center Partnership Executive Director Genevieve Kirk.

The promotional event has been going on since 2010, said Kirk, and will hopefully return each additional summer. And although street closures from the Multimodal Corridor Enhancement (MCORE) project had been a concern for some businesses, the 2017 season may have been the best yet, she said.

“Some of our vendors are telling me that they did great,” Kirk said. “Seoul Taco did a buy one taco get one free,” adding that they were selling out of tacos on Thursdays. “Ragstock as well told me it was their best 13 Thursdays,” she added, but was unsure of their reasoning.

The final 13 Thursdays is taking place on Aug. 17 and is expanding to sidewalk sales.

“We’re hoping the sidewalk sale we’re doing this Thursday is another way to capture some new students, to get them to have some exposure to what these different retailers sell … before the main rush of students,” Kirk said. The event correlates with welcome days for international students as they arrive on campus.

For those in need of University apparel, the Illini Union Bookstore, Gameday Spirit and T.I.S. Illini Shop are participating in the deals this Thursday. Campustown clothing stores such as Ragstock and Apricot Lane are extending their shops to the sidewalk as well.

Those who decide to drive can park their vehicles for one hour at no charge at the Campustown Parking Deck if they purchase something at the participating locations. In order to receive parking validation, patrons must ask the vendor for a parking pass and they’ll receive one to enter into the ticket machine at their departure.

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