Businesses in downtown Muncie and the Village are getting ready for Family Weekend and are expecting to have more customers.
In the past five years, Downtown Development has sponsored tours to downtown Muncie for parents during freshman orientation to attract more parents and students to the area.
Michael Martin, owner of Doc's Music Hall and board member of Heart of the City, said about 15 people ride the trolley during the tour and several tours are made every day. He said he has seen an increase in parents taking the tour every year.
"We are hoping it will be a good showing [this weekend]," he said. "We've seen the connection between downtown and Ball State students increase."
Martin said that although most downtown businesses are not offering promotions, they are looking forward to an increase in customers.
"We want it to be a good experience for them," he said. "There are always things to do downtown."
Andrew Porter, manager of the Blue Bottle, said the coffee shop has had good turnouts in the past year during Family Weekend. He said he thought last year there were more people because there was more advertising from Downtown Development.
"I think it's good Ball State is pushing people down here," he said.
Porter said there used to be more graduate students downtown, but lately he has been seeing more undergraduates.
Like Porter, Martin said downtown Muncie has seen more students participating in the area than in other years.
"We just saw it last weekend during Muncie Music Fest," he said. "Students are taking their own initiative and coming downtown."
With more Ball State students visiting downtown and the new Ivy Tech opening next semester, downtown Muncie businesses are seeking to expand and offer more services.
Porter said the coffee shop is expanding by opening a new location next door and adding food to their menu.
"We were a little nervous because many businesses are doing the same things, opening new restaurants," he said. "So we thought it was time to do more."
Other downtown locations for Family Weekend are the Fickle Peach, White River Landing and Vera Mae's Bistro.
Like downtown, businesses from the Village expect an increase in customers.
Nick Hutton, assistant general manager of Scotty's Brewhouse, said they are opening earlier to include breakfast, something the restaurant does only two times a year.
"It's the first time we do this for Family Weekend," he said. "All the other locations over Indiana will do the same."
Hutton said Scotty's Brewhouse usually has more people during family weekend.
Other village locations that expect a good turnout this weekend are the mt cup, Craw Daddy's and Greek's Pizzeria.