BLOOMSBURG — With Block Party getting under way, Bloomsburg is once again bracing itself for a hectic weekend, to say the least. Besides the large crowds, food and alcohol, it’s also a huge weekend for local businesses.
The strip of stores that line Main Street started preparing for this weekend months ago. Over the past two weeks, Block Party Insider has spoken with store owners about the annual spring celebration, and how the eventful Saturday usually goes.
“Business is Booming!” were the first words from Uni-Mart workers.
Uni-Mart, a family-owned business located along Lightstreet Road, sees its sales climb each BP weekend: “With all the out of towners coming this weekend, it can be hard to control the crowds walking in and out of the store,” said one cashier, who did not provide his name. “We usually run out of ice, certain brands of cigarettes and soda by late afternoon, but we’re always able to restock.”
The preparation started about a month ago for Uni-Mart. They just want to be prepared for the storm of customers, and traditionally haven’t run into many problems over the last few Block Party’s.
Frank’s Pizza is also preparing itself for big crowds this weekend. With a new store location and more space inside their shop, this Block Party won’t be like the others for owner Frank Nash and his employees.
“We’re excited, but also curious to see how this year plays out,” he said on Tuesday. “With more capacity than our former location, we’re expecting even higher in-store and delivery sales than prior years.”
Nash was able to grow his business over the past few years as well as re-invent the menu with more options. “I just hope they like my pizza and subs!” he said jubilantly. Employees at Frank’s have high hopes for this coming Saturday.
Rival pizza shop Tri-Pi is bracing themselves for Block Party weekend by not tolerating any type of immature and flamboyant behavior. One of the owners, Jo-Jo Yannone, doesn’t mess around when it comes to drunk college kids messing with his store.
“I’m a nice guy, but this is my place of business. Families eat here. If you come in here acting like a fool, than you should be treated like one. Control your alcohol and we won’t have any problems,” Yannone said Wednesday.
Tri-Pi has had their fair share of minor incidents already this year with fights in and outside the store, kids walking through the back door of the shop and their front window being shattered last year. They are preparing more for the evening hours than the early afternoon. “That’s usually how it plays out, we’ve always had more business at night during Block Party than during the day,” said Jo-Jo. “It’s a great weekend for the community, but even better for us.”
As I was talking to store owners, I got the notion that a majority of them enjoyed the school spirit that comes with Block Party. “The students love this school, and this weekend they get to show it off to their friends and others that come to visit,” said Connor Spornak a cashier at Campus Beer.
“They tell us that if your hired here, you need to be an able body for Block Party, nearly everyone that drinks is drinking and if the weather’s nice it’s game over,” Spornak went on to say.
Campus Beer along with Beverage Station are working around the clock each Block Party Saturday from 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. non-stop with nearly half the sales coming from deliveries alone.
Local businesses thrive during block party, but local t-shirt companies do as well. The BU Block Party Facebook page, run by students at Bloomsburg, posts Block Party T-shirt designs for each Block Party. The T-shirts are always a hit, with certain designs selling out in hours.
“Boozeburg. A drinking town with an attitude.” is one of their more popular designs.
This article originally appeared on BlockPartyInsider.wordpress.com, a project for MassCommunications’ Spring 2016 Journalism Workshop. You can view all of the workshop’s work there.