New store celebrates Hobo Day tradition

Noah Brown

A new store featuring Hobo apparel opened in The Union Oct. 10. The Hobo Shoppe features items ranging from T-shirts to postcards to jewelry, all celebrating the Hobo tradition. It is located in formerly unused office space near Einstein Bros. Bagels on the main level of The Union.

This is the first time a store has been created to showcase items spotlighting Weary Wil and Dirty Lil, but it could become a yearly tradition.

“It really depends on the reaction,” said Nick Wendell, director of the Center for Student Engagement. “This year we have some special items commemorative for the Hobo Centennial, but in the future there could be more general hobo-related items.”

The Hobo Day Committee helped plan the store and staff it, providing an employment opportunity for students whose days are otherwise filled with planning for what they hope will be the largest Hobo Day yet.

The store has a cozy atmosphere and is easy to miss, but those who venture in will find a wide variety of gifts, not to mention the free Hobo Day bumper sticker commemorating 100 years of “the largest one-day event in the Dakotas.”

“There isn’t really a goal for revenue this year,” Wendell said.

The committee hopes funds from the store will help fund the various expenses involved with Hobo Day. One of the largest projects is the Dirty Lil statue that will join Weary Wil on the north side of The Union. That statue is expected to be completed by the fall of 2013. The Hobo Day Gallery will also receive some of the revenue generated by the store to help keep the gallery updated.

In the past, the Hobo Day Committee has produced an official shirt each year. This year is no different; the shirt depicts a worn-out image of Weary Wil on the front and says “100 years of Hobo Day” on the reverse. The shirts come in blue or yellow and cost $10.

Students working in the store are proud they can represent the Hobo tradition.

“I don’t have the time to work off campus, and the Hobo Shoppe is a great way to make some extra money while selling some awesome stuff,” said Alex Kunz, UPC president and part-time employee at the store.

The Hobo Shoppe is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The committee plans to keep the store open for at least a couple weeks after Hobo Day, depending on how quickly the inventory runs out.