Aggieville proving to be the “perfect fit” for many businesses

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Aggieville has been a staple for K-State students and the people in Manhattan for decades, but the area hasn’t always looked like it is today.

New businesses have replaced the old ones and the longtime fixtures have had to adapt with the times.

Before the beginning of Aggieville in 1889, then Kansas State Agricultural College students would soon have a place to spend their money, now over a hundred years later, students are still supporting the district right across the street from the K-State campus.

It all began with a building that had a laundry service, book store and barber shop. Then more businesses would start popping up around the turn of the century.

Olson’s Shoes moved to Aggieville from downtown Manhattan in 1912.

78-year-old Edwin Olson has spent his whole life in the shoe shop and he said he has noticed some things along the way.  

“Just the general people but still the things that haven’t changed, it’s still students. Aggieville has always been a student place.”

But for a business that you might think is out of place fixing heels, soles and stitching up shoes, Olson said Aggieville is right where they should be.

“I think we fit in pretty good. We have a lot of sorority girls, fraternity guys that come in with their boots and their shoes,” Olson said.

Krista Bramhall is the interim director of the Aggieville Business Association. She also owns two bars in the district. She said it’s the people that got her to invest in Aggieville.

“The energy and the passion that the business owners have down here was exciting, it’s contagious,” she said.

Scott Sieben owns Kite’s Bar & Grille. He said the diversity of the district is what makes it great.

“It’s not just bars and things. There’s retail, there’s all kinds of things for people down here and we’re hoping to keep building that Aggieville tradition to get people down here more often.”

That’s what gives Olson hope for the future. Aggieville is embracing the differences between businesses, and even a shoe shop can thrive in the midst of restaurants and bars.

“People still got to wear shoes,” Olson said.

Even when a business closes each owner said the future looks bright for Aggieville.

In early December, the Manhattan City Commission approved a new Aggieville redevelopment plan that will include a five story hotel, a parking garage and a new look to Moro street. 

You can find out more about Aggieville here and learn about the past here.

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