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How Bloomington businesses prepare for Little 500 weekend



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T.I.S. Bookstore is located on Third Street. Many businesses, such as T.I.S., are preparing for the busy Little 500 weekend. Claire Livingston Buy Photos

TIS

This shop, which offers IU apparel and gear, sees an increase in business during Little 500 comparable to times when there is a home basketball game, president of TIS Group Tim Tichenor said.  

“There is an uptick, but it’s not large,” Tichenor said.

Alumni, some of whom once bought books from that store, will come in and buy T-shirts while they are in town, Tichenor said.

TIS also brings in the official IU Student Foundation Little 500 merchandise, so people come to buy those T-shirts, hats and hoodies.  

Mother Bear’s Pizza

The pizza shop, which is decorated in drawings and names of past and present students, sees an increase in business during Little 500 time, owner Ray McConn said.

“We are busier, but not a night-and-day difference,” McConn said.

Though there are more customers, McConn said no more workers are scheduled. The kitchen is full with workers most days already, so it's just easier to use the same amount.

“We are used to being busy,” McConn said. “We just do it.”

Nick’s English Hut

General manager Pete Mikolaitis said Nick’s English Hut has more business the whole week — but especially during the weekend of Little 500.

They make sure to staff heavily, with extra bartenders, servers and security.

He said a lot of alumni come because it was somewhere they enjoyed going before football or basketball games.

Also, its location on Kirkwood Avenue means it’s really close to other Bloomington hot spots and campus itself, which he feels draws people in.

He said overall, Nick’s workers just want to serve everyone and help them have fun safely.

“That’s our main goal and objective,” Mikolaitis said. “To make sure everyone has a good time and try to keep all the unwanted stuff down.”

Pizza X

It is Pizza X’s busiest time of the year, with about a 30% increase in sales, general manager Mike Gastineau said.

He said this is because there are more parties and events.

About two to three weeks before Little 500, he starts to gather more staff and figure out scheduling. The staff will work more hours and more days, people from the other locations will come to the campus location and former employees will be asked to come back to the store in preparation.

During the busiest times this weekend, around 15 drivers will be out delivering the pizzas, so customers will still get their orders quickly.

“Order a bunch of pizzas, we are ready for you,” Gastineau said.

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