Dinkytown and Stadium Village businesses share history

Kelly Gulbrandson

While new franchises frequently spring up in the business districts surrounding campus, Dinkytown and Stadium Village still contain pieces of campus history.

Dinkytown Business Association president Skott Johnson, who also owns Autographics, said although he has owned the store for 19 years, “That’s nothing compared to some of the stores in this area.”

He said the Dinkytown Barbers and Tanning, located next to Autographics, has existed for more than 50 years, and Vescio’s just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Laurel and Perry Bauer, co-owners of House of Hanson – a family-owned grocery store in Dinkytown – said the store has gone through a lot of changes in its 75 years after starting as a café.

“It was a soda fountain in the ’60s,” she said. “It was half grocery and half soda fountain before it evolved into all groceries.”

Bauer said her grandfather started the business in 1932, sold it to her father and she purchased it from him 10 years ago.

She said as a family-business owner, she wants to be hands-on and listen to the customers.

Some Dinkytown businesses have long histories, but Jim Rosvold, Stadium Village Commercial Association spokesman and owner of Campus Pizza and Pasta, said the ages of businesses in Stadium Village also vary.

Campus Pizza and Stub & Herbs have both been open for more than 60 years, Rosvold said, while Sally’s Saloon and Eatery has existed for 10 years.

The Tea Garden and the soon-to-be Jamba Juice are among the newest establishments, he said.

Justin Zavadil, owner of Stadium Village Mall and co-owner of Stub & Herbs, said the neighborhood has a lot of foot traffic.

Zavadil, a University alumnus, said he spent most of his time in Stadium Village during his student years, but he also liked Dinkytown.

“I lived in Territorial Hall as a freshman and was a theater major so I was always on the West Bank,” he said. “Whenever we would go out, we would always go to Sally’s or Stub & Herbs.”

Rosvold said the two book-end neighborhoods complement each other with the mix of businesses and have a friendly rivalry.

Both Johnson and Rosvold said they like the small-town feel of the neighborhoods and wouldn’t want it to change.

“We’re already trend-setting because other people are copying our design,” Rosvold said.

Architecture junior William Alt said he goes to Dinkytown daily to eat lunch or have coffee. Having a store like House of Hanson close to his apartment is convenient, he said.

“I like the small-town atmosphere of the neighborhood with the different businesses,” he said.

Bauer said she thinks Dinkytown is a fun neighborhood because the majority of the clientele is college-aged, but sometimes people who graduated 30 years ago still shop there.

She said listening to what her customers want and adapting to them are two things that can ensure a business’ longevity.

“I make sure we’re not carrying canned grapefruit anymore like we did 25 years ago,” Bauer said.