Mill Avenue District

Red and black Mill Avenue District signs can be spotted as you walk along the popular path of Mill Avenue, but have you ever wondered what this organization actually does?

Basically, the Mill Avenue District’s job is to create the experience when people are in Tempe – they create the environment to give people a good time downtown.

The Mill Avenue District is an enhanced service district that has a team of ambassadors, usually seen wearing red polo shirts around town. Their jobs include cleaning, landscaping, emptying trash cans and other tasks that bring Mill Avenue’s standards to a level that the community is proud of and tourists can enjoy.

I’ve seen the red-shirted ambassadors busy at work on Mill Avenue, watering plants, replacing signs and cleaning throughout the day.

Employee Wann Sierra said he, "likes his job because it's something different every day."

Nancy Hormann, president and executive director of the Downtown Tempe Community said, “We have what’s called a “Clean Team”- people who are out on the streets cleaning all the time, emptying garbage, etc. The City does it once a day in the morning, but for the remainder of the day, we take over that responsibility,” Hormann said.

Many cities also have enhanced services districts, like the downtown areas of Chandler, Phoenix and Mesa. Currently, Glendale and Flagstaff are both exploring similar ideas in their areas. The term “enhanced services” really means that the Mill Avenue District takes over the maintenance and care of Mill Avenue, where the City of Tempe ends their services.

“It’s typical in every major city across the U.S. They’re called different things in different states. Some are called business improvement districts, city improvement districts, enhanced services districts, but they’re all exactly the same thing,” Hormann said.

The Mill Avenue District receives its funding from local property owners, who voted to tax themselves for this specific purpose, but is actually employed by the Downtown Tempe Community. The DTC is a non-profit organization that works with the City of Tempe and downtown stakeholders.

“The property owners pay into this district in order to provide services that go above and beyond what the city already does, but the City [of Tempe] will not reduce their services because we are adding services,” Hormann said. “So we just have a higher level services here – more cleaning, landscaping and safety.”

In recent months, a safety team has been added to the area. The Safe-T-Patrol Guides, can be spotted wearing bright yellow polo shirts and may be patrolling around town on foot or by bicycle. The Safe-T-Patrol Guides act as goodwill ambassadors that welcome visitors, provide directions or a safety escort and can give recommendations of where to go in Downtown Tempe. You might also notice the Safe-T-Patrol in the park at Tempe Town Lake. Their territory also extends to the park, in order to be more helpful to Tempe visitors and provide a sense of visual security.

You might have also noticed the addition of credit card enabled parking meters in Tempe, which has made it easier for visitors to find parking – especially when they are all out of quarters. This action, by the Mill Avenue District, was in hopes to better accommodate customers in their downtown Tempe experience.

Hormann said, “It’s fabulous, but it’s not a money-maker. It’s about convenience and customer service and we are trying to expand on that.”

Credit card parking meters

Since the program began, there has been a positive response to the credit card parking meters and one could only image that convenient parking would lead to happier customers and more business on Mill Avenue.

The Mill Avenue District also manages parking garages and lots in Tempe. I learned that sometimes when you need to park for an extended period of time, it’s better to use a parking garage than a meter with time restrictions.

“We want to encourage people, if they are coming for longer periods of time, to park in parking lots or parking structures because you have a short window of time on the meters,” Hormann said. “But you can stay as long as you want in parking lots and structures. And in the ones that are branded with the Parkit Logo, they’re all free for the first hour.”

Parking garages are the better choice in the summertime, as well, to keep your car from baking in the sun while you are off enjoying lunch or shopping.

Parking can be such a hassle and I really appreciated the insiders’ tips for parking in Tempe.

Now that you have knowledge and a higher appreciation for what the Mill Avenue District provides for our city, you’ll know who they are next time. If you see a red-shirt ambassador or Safe-T-Patrol Guide, say hello or ask if you need help!

Some other activities and events associated with the Mill Avenue District:

Festival of the Arts


More info:

  • To see upcoming events in Tempe, click here.
  • For a better parking spot in downtown Tempe, click here.
  • To apply for a job with the Mill Avenue District, click here.

Wall-to-Wall Cross Country Bicycle Ride Stops at ASU

Updated post: 3/8/12

Check out the video of Staat and Barrientos at Sun Devil Stadium!

4,163 miles… 15 states… 100 days…

    … and lots of determination!

Some of you may not know who Jeremy Staat is… but you may have heard or read that he is coming to ASU, as a stop on his Wall-to-Wall Cross Country Bicycle Ride.

ASU Alumni, former NFL player and Iraqi War veteran, Jeremy Staat

Staat played professional football for the Pittsburg Steelers, St. Louis Rams and arena football for the Los Angeles Avengers. But before all of that, he began his football career at ASU and was friends with our local hero, Pat Tillman. After the tragic loss of Tillman, Staat lost interest and decided to leave his career in football. He chose to join the United States Marine Corps, and is now an Iraqi War veteran.

Staat formed the Jeremy Staat Foundation to raise awareness and support for the nation’s veterans and veterans organizations. By stopping at ASU, Staat hopes to promote veterans centers on college campuses.

Staat and fellow Iraqi War veteran, Wesley Barrientos, are riding more than 4,163 miles starting at the Wall of Valor in Bakersfield, Calif., to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. Barrientos is a three-time Iraq War veteran, three-time Purple Heart recipient and a double amputee who rides a hand-crank bicycle. Both Staat and Barrientos are both from Bakersfield.

The Wall-to-Wall Bicycle Tour will arrive outside of Sun Devil Stadium around 2 p.m. on March 8. The ride will conclude in D.C. on Memorial Day. Meet them there!

Keep up with Jeremy and Wesley: 

  • Click here to follow the ride schedule.
  • You can also keep track of where the riders are right now on the website.

We can’t wait to see you at ASU on Thursday!

For related articles:

Man Hit by Light Rail

Trying to beat the train, was not the best choice for a  28-year-old man who was struck by a light rail car on Saturday evening in Phoenix. An ABC 15 story reports that, after running across the street, he tripped and was hit by the train. I don’t have access to his name or much more information than this.

I realize this incident did not occur in Tempe, but it could easily happen in any city. The ABC15 story was an important reminder because the light rail runs through many populated streets of Tempe. This is the perfect time to learn from another’s mistake. This man is in the hospital and hopefully will get better, but others could benefit from learning of his accident. Alcohol and bad judgement may have been factors, and in Tempe there are many bars in close proximity to the light rail. I wouldn’t want this to happen to any fellow Sun Devil fans!

Pay attention and be safe around the light rail!


(From the website.)

  • Obey traffic and pedestrian crosswalk signs- don’t cross if it’s not your turn!
  • Look and listen for trains at ALL intersections. This is an individual responsibility in areas where trains are known to travel.
  • The light rail is quiet- Look for flashing headlights and listen for bells.
  • Don’t stop your car on the train tracks. This especially means on the congested area near Tempe Campus and University Drive!!
  • Be careful around overhead voltage lines.
Tempe light rail at ASU Stadium

Photo from flickr by Nick Bastian

Geno’s Cheesesteaks and Deli: Open Late!

Geno’s Cheesesteaks and Deli might be a new neighbor, opening just five months ago, on the block on Rural Road and University Drive, but owner Jeff Accra is no rookie to running a restaurant in Tempe.

Accra previously ran the late night pizza sensation, Hungry Howie’s, known for signature flavored crust options, which he sold six months ago to begin this new venture.

Geno’s menu consists of American style food ranging from the Geno’s Famous Philly Cheesesteak, to deli sandwiches, wings and salads.

Accra said the menu is, “More American than Italian. I bought back a lot of east coast flavor with this concept. I have the highest end deli with Boar’s Head Deli meats and cheeses, sliced fresh every day.”

Geno’s business has been successful, partly due to its prime location at the intersection of Rural Road and University Drive, which sees a lot of activity.

Accra, said his location “is in the heart of Tempe, it’s like an artery. When people talk about Tempe it’s either on Mill Avenue; or at Rural and University.”

He is right. Dorms and student apartment complexes line the nearby streets in such close proximity to campus.

There is a constant flow of students walking or skateboarding to class, bikes flying by or people at the transit station, light rail and bus stops.

Maybe it really is all about location, location, location.

In the restaurant world, one thing is for sure- it’s definitely about the food!

The menu focuses on the signature cheesesteak with multiple variations to choose from. I tried the Pizza Philly and loaded it with pepperoni, green peppers and mushrooms. It was awesome! It was pretty filling though, so I took half home for later.

Geno’s also offers a variety of deli sandwiches with quality Boar’s Head Deli meats and cheeses.

When it comes to french fries, there are so many options. You can add cheese, bacon, chili, garlic or other toppings to make them even more delicious. I want to try the Greek Fries topped with feta and parmesan cheeses and greek dressing! They sound like heaven. If you are looking for something on the lighter side, try a turkey sandwich or the Cranberry Pecan Salad.

The most popular menu item= Geno’s Famous Philly Cheesesteak

Geno's offers the NFL Package and cold beer on draft

 Since you can’t eat cheesesteaks everyday, like Accra said, he shares his favorite menu item- turkey toasted on sesame.

Six different beers are available on draft. They have Coors Light, Bud Light, Michelob Amber Bock, Santan Devil’s Ale, Shock Top and New Belgium Snow Day Winter Ale.

The best part about Geno’s is they stay open late and deliver until 4 a.m., which is a big hit in a college town. The busiest times are either during lunch or midnight to 4 a.m.

The delivery radius is pretty vast for this area because it extends past the usual Tempe boundaries. Accra said the delivery area is Baseline Road, 48th Street, Dobson Road and McDowell Road. It’s a little outside of Tempe, but it’s all where the students live, said Accra.

From working at  Hungry Howie’s in Tempe, Accra knows that a big chunk of business comes from late night.

“If you’re in a college town, you gotta be open late. You’re not feeding families, your feeding students. Our slowest time is dinner.”

ASU student Chelsea Mansene who works as a bartender at Mellow Mushroom said, “Geno’s is like a bartender’s dream after a long Saturday!”

While I was eating my Pizza Philly, I spoke to Alex who was working the late night shift. She said they really get busy after the bars let out at 2 a.m.

People like to come to Geno’s after a long night because the food is hearty and satisfying. Like Alex said, “We have a lot of good food here!”

Geno’s also has free internet access for customers, the NFL Package and a dozen flat screen TV’s within the restaurant and on the patio. It’s a great place to watch a football game with friends or catch up on homework.

There is also a Geno’s located in Gilbert, which was the original store. Accra said they are looking to open up a third location in South Tempe or East Mesa in the near future.

Contact the author at



Runners Rocking Out & Staying Strong

Early Sunday morning I awoke to an unfamiliar band playing an upbeat number with some piano action. The song was very loud and I couldn’t determine where it was coming from.

The neighbors?

A car in the parking lot?

I decided to get up and check out the source of the mysterious ballad.

It didn’t take too long to realize a band was playing across the street from my apartment, on stage for the P.F. Changs Rock “n” Roll Marathon Series. As I walked closer to University Drive, I saw a water station and row of port-o-potties, people of all ages walking, jogging or running by, and a band playing hits from the 70s.

Cosmic Shindig playing P.F. Changs Half Marathon

I saw a family of three rooting on their mother in the race. They told me this was the half marathon, which is 13.1 miles long. The race began at 7:30 a.m. in downtown Tempe on Mill Avenue and Third Street. Since it was almost 9 a.m., the race was well on it’s way. Someone ran by holding a sign reading 3:00, meaning this group of people would finish in approximately three hours.

The full marathon started at CityScape in downtown Phoenix, early this morning also. Both events had a new course this year, to view the new routes click here.

The finish line for both races is between Sun Devil and Sun Angel Stadium’s on Packard Drive. For those people visiting Tempe, it’s near Lot 59, which is easy to spot because it’s covered in solar panels.

The familiar, classy rock tunes were helping to motivate the runners as they moved forward. I captured a video of athletes running down University Drive as the band, Cosmic Shindig, played “Black Magic Woman”.

People were yelling, “You can do it!” and ringing cowbells to cheer on their favorite athletes. The athletes friends and families set up cheering sections with chairs alongside the road, to view the finish line from a comfortable distance. Lots of people made colorful signs to encourage runners to finish strong.

Almost to the finish line!

I especially like the outfits some runners chose to wear.

Nice outfits ladies!

I saw tutus, skirts, tall socks, CamelBaks, homemade team shirts, and even a few groups from GoDaddy in bright orange running shirts. It was pretty hard to miss them!

The best gear of the day had to be a group of women who were wearing spandex Wonder Woman outfits. Maybe they saved their Halloween costumes to wear on race day!

I spotted two ladies wearing pink tutu’s on Rio Salado Parkway. They sure look determined with less than a mile to reach the finish line!

When participants wear bright or unique clothing, it’s easier for spectators to find them in the crowds.

The race day turned out to be successful. Fortunately, the weather was slightly overcast- perfect for running in Tempe.


Here are the results for winners of the two events.

The Results:

Winner- Full Marathon (26.2 miles):

  • Men: Peter Omae Ayieni finished in 2:25:45
  • Women: Trisha Miller finished in 2:51:11

Winner- Half Marathon (13.1 miles):

  • Men: Dylan Wykes finished in 1:02:39
  • Women: Sara Slattery finished in 1:16:24

 Helpful Links: 

  • Click here to view more photos from the race via the Rock “n” Roll Marathon’s website.
  • Click here for the leaderboard race results.
  • Click here to enter a participant’s name or bib number.


Contact the author at

The Tempe Tourism Office: A Resource For Visitors and Locals

Tempe is a small city, just 40.2 square miles, but carries the spirit of a lively metropolis with beautiful weather, growing families, brilliant students, small businesses, unique restaurants, mountainous skylines and a successful university, making it the perfect, sunny climate to reside or visit.

The city stands out with attributes like Arizona State University, Tempe Town Lake and the Mill Avenue District, and enjoys sharing its turf with multiple large-scale events that residents and visitors enjoy throughout the year.

Tempe is known for hosting numerous large events like the Insight Bowl, the Ironman Arizona Triathlon and the P.F. Changs Rock “n” Roll Marathon and Half Marathon, all of which bring large crowds to Tempe.

The job of the Tempe Tourism Office is to promote Tempe, helping to encourage travel to our city.

“Tourism: (n.) travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. Tourism is important and in some cases vital for many countries. It brings in large amounts of income in payment for goods and services.” -Wikipedia

The tourism office also serves as the destination expert of where to stay, eat, and go while in town.

Recently, when I interviewed the President and CEO of the Tempe Tourism Office, Stephanie Nowack, I noticed the large display of colorful brochures that lined the lobby wall near the entrance. There was information on shopping, restaurants, museums, national parks and attractions, locally and throughout the state of Arizona. [Stop by their office on 51 W. Third St. Suite 105, across from the light rail station for free brochures.]

A large part of the Tempe Tourism Office’s job is to form relationships in the community by linking the travelers’ needs to what Tempe has to offer.

“The value of the tourism office is facilitating connections for those people who want to come to town, whether it’s leisure or business, and make that link with the businesses in town,” Nowack said. “We’re trying to drive revenue to the businesses, to the hotels, to the restaurants, and provide information about the attractions that Tempe has to offer, like Sea Life [at Arizona Mills Mall] is a great location that we promote.”

The Tempe Tourism Office establishes connections with people such as meeting and event planners, tourists and travel agents and also organizations like ASU academic and sports partners.

The tourism office advertises with social media, PR campaigns, travel writers, AAA programs and commercials to reach specific demographics. Tourism can play a role in the success of our local businesses, hotels and restaurants, during slow times of the year.

“One of the greatest opportunities and the greatest challenges of our job is really to differentiate Tempe, to figure out what is it that makes Tempe different from any other city. Because when we are talking to meeting planner, or a possible traveler, I need to describe what is it about Tempe that will make them decide to come here. Tempe Town Lake is for sure a deciding factor, as well as ASU, Gammage and the Mill Avenue District.”

Tempe draws visitors from all 50 states and even many other countries making Tempe unlike any other city in Arizona.

“We get both business visitors, people who are coming for conferences and business trips, as well as leisure travelers. Our percentage is definitely higher for the leisure traveler,” Nowack said. “According to recent research, the main reasons that people come to Tempe are visiting friends and family, coming for special events and activities, and ASU.”

Being near the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport also makes Tempe an easy option for travelers. Research tells Nowack that our guests mostly come from California, Texas and Colorado. The top countries for our travelers are Canada and Mexico.

Once you arrive, public transportation is easy to use and is available by cab, bus or light rail. Or rent a bicycle for a day or two at The Bicycle Cellar.

The Ironman Arizona Triathlon is a great example of the process the city takes to approve an event because the race was already established and wanted to add the Tempe location to the schedule.

“I got a phone call one day from the president of Ironman North America. He said we are aware of Tempe and think you have a great city. We’re looking to expand our marathon series into the Southwest and we would like to talk to you about bringing it to Tempe,” Nowack said.

The special events manager from the city, along with Nowack, conducted extensive research and then traveled to Madison, Wis., to experience how an Ironman race was handled. Because of the Ironman’s flawless execution and the guarantee for large crowds, they decided to bring the event to Tempe.

“We could see it first hand. What was really involved with the operations? What were the logistics? What would be required for us to put on an event like that? It was a very thoughtful, methodical process, which has really turned out to be one of our greatest events ever.”

Over 3,000 people participated in the Ironman Arizona Triathlon that was held on Nov. 19, 2011, at Tempe Town Lake with the highest number of participants from California, Texas and Colorado.

For that one event, which is a one-day event, the economic impact is between $4 million and $5 million in revenue, Nowack said. It’s a great visitor to attract because they are from a high demographic.

The Ironman Arizona will return to Tempe next November, but the P. F. Changs Rock “n” Roll Marathon and Half Marathon are the next large events to gather in Tempe. The race expands to parts of Phoenix and Scottsdale, as well. This race is a qualifier for other marathons, which should bring in large numbers of people from outside of the state to compete in Tempe.

P. F. Changs Rock “n” Roll Marathon and Half Marathon

When: Jan. 15, 2012 at 7:30 a.m.

  • Half Marathon – Starts from Downtown Tempe on Mill Avenue & Third Street
  • Marathon– Starts from Downtown Phoenix at CityScape
  • Finish Line: Packard Drive between ASU’s Sun Devil and Sun Angel stadiums

 Tempe Tourism Office links:

Insight Bowl fans at Hayden Butte

Crowds of people climbed Hayden Butte, or to the locals “A” Mountain, during the warm, relaxing weather on Thursday afternoon.

I wondered why the sudden increase of hikers, considering I saw less than five people at the Butte the day before.

Maybe it was the warm weather. I was back to wearing shorts, again. It’s been chilly lately!

I was with two friends and we each had our dogs- one was a cute husky puppy.

In the background: Tempe Mission Palms from Hayden Butte

So just as the dogs like to do, we smiled and greeted everyone that we passed.

Everyone seemed friendly and talkative. It seemed different. And nice.

I then concluded that most hikers, today, were probably from out-of-town. It’s still the holiday season and winter break for ASU, so I’m going to guess that they’re mostly visitors.

I looked around and realized that people were in large groups adorned in either red and grey or black and gold. Some had a few kids, water bottles and workout clothes, and were hiking on and off the trails, pretty much all over the mountain.

I loved the energy surrounding us. We lingered around for a while and enjoyed the beauty of our city.

I think we may have been some of the few Sun Devils’ fans on the mountain.

So it’s official. The fans of the Insight Bowl are arriving in town.

It’s also New Year’s Eve. It should be an exciting weekend in Tempe.

I could hear an announcer echoing throughout Sun Devil Stadium, possibly in preparation for the Insight Bowl.

Parachuters carrying the American flag

I also saw blue and white nylon parachutes eject from a plane and glide through the air, sporting American flags and then landing inside the stadium.

It was really cool to see.

I love that fact that I didn’t even have to travel anywhere else to see it. It all happened in my favorite city, Tempe.

What: The Insight Bowl

Who: Oklahoma State Sooners vs. Iowa Hawkeyes

When: Friday, Dec. 30 @ 8:00 p.m.

Where: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe

Map to Sun Devil Stadium


Related links :

Ticket information

Oklahoma State Sooners

Iowa Hawkeyes

Local Designer Night on Third Thursday

Located at University Drive and College Avenue, next to Campus Corner

Julie Kent, owner of Here on the Corner, does her part to help out the ‘starving artists’.

Here on the Corner will host a Third Thursday Local Designer Night this week on Dec. 15 at the store, in a joint-fundraising event to benefit local designers and the Tempe Leadership non-profit organization.

The boutique, located on University Drive and College Avenue, carries affordable fashions and accessories mostly from local designers and products that support a cause.

Kent holds these Local Designer Nights each month on Third Thursday.

“I promote as much as I can. And people support their friends,” Kent said.

This gives the designers a chance to meet each other, bring their friends and get their name out there.

During the event, Kent blocks off a few hours of sales and donates a certain percentage back to the designer.

“I like to do fundraising events and really enjoy volunteering. I’m just so happy that I can do both at my job. I want people to say they want to have an event here, ” Kent said.

Some of the local designers on display at Here on the Corner are Bluebird Apparel, Think Positive Apparel, Casual Cuffs, Sebastien Millon, Vintage Rose, Sarah Madeline and Alyx Marie, an ASU student studying theater, just to name a few.

Kent said, “Our biggest seller are the Tom’s one-for-one shoes, for every pair your buy they give a pair to a child in an underdeveloped country.”

Here on the Corner opened eight years ago by two local women.

“When I took over the store last May, I tried building on what they started,” said Kent. “Since then I’ve brought in a lot more lines that either, benefit the environment or the communities in some way. I’m really drawn to that. Then if you’re a local designer and you do that, it’s even better.”

There are always great deals at Here on the Corner’s Local Designer event on Third Thursday.

For the Local Designer Night this Thursday, if you spend $25 on a local designer, a hair stylist from Grooming Humans will set you up with festive tinsel hair extensions for free.

“We did it at the last one too. It went over really well,” Kent said.

There doesn’t always have to be a Third Thursday event for Kent to offer discounts. Right now, many ASU students are preparing for winter graduation. This week, if you are wear a cap and gown in the store, you will receive a 25 percent discount off of one item.

A deal each day until Christmas

Also, an advent calendar on display in the front of the shop uncovers a new deal each day until Christmas.

Wednesday’s special was $5 off a handbag. What a great incentive to customers who are finishing up holiday gift shopping!

“I can’t tell you how many people walk in and say I never came in here because it’s a boutique, I just assumed it would be expensive,” said Kent. “I rarely have any clothing over $45.”

Kent is always thinking about new events. She plans to start a spoken word event to encourage more guests to attend Third Thursday.

“What I’m trying to do is establish events that keep people coming. Like the designer night and I want to do regular spoken words. It’s just a way of getting people here that wouldn’t normally come,” Kent said.

Find a style for anyone, with local designer's creations

Kent is really open to partner up to fundraise with other organizations and brands that fit her store’s mission.

She started a fundraiser sponsored by Here on the Corner called A Race for Maggie’s Place to help pregnant, homeless women. The signature race is a 9K symbolizing the nine months of pregnancy, but also has shorter distances available for participants.

She also helped the Fashionistas at ASU club with supplying outfits for two of their fashion shows. In February, they both plan to work together to put on a fashion show for a cause.

Kent has done a lot to help local artists and further Here on the Corner’s mission in the Tempe area.

“Tempe customers are loyal to their small businesses. It’s just getting them to know that you’re here,” Kent said.

Make sure to check out Local Designer Night on Third Thursday!

What: Third Thursday Local Designer Night
Where: Here on the Corner at 714 S. College Ave., Tempe
When: Third Thursday, Dec. 15th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Why: To meet local designers, benefit Tempe Leadership, Tinsel hair extensions
For event details click here

Check out:

Campus Corner: Stop In!

Campus Corner, a well-known ASU retail and convenience shop, has managed to survive the meltdown of small business closures in Tempe, specifically near Mill Avenue.

Campus Corner has two locations minutes from each other in town, one on the corner of University Drive and College Avenue and the other on Mill Avenue and Sixth Street.

The Mill Avenue store

The need for two shops just blocks from each other might not be apparent to most, but the owner Mike Jennings said each store has its own personality and type of customer.

One store sees the majority of its traffic during the peak business hours with a morning crowd stopping in the corner shop on their way to work or class. The other tends to pick up in the late afternoon, buzzing into the evening with the bar and club scene.

“The College Avenue store opens earlier catering to students, faculty and staff with classes on the Tempe campus,” Jennings said.

During the school year, the crosswalk at University Drive and College Avenue is like a major highway with a continuous stream of people coming from all directions, which makes for the perfect site for a convenience shop.

Jennings opened the first location on College Avenue in 1989 after moving from Illinois where he had worked at a chain of campus stores called Discount Den.

When I moved to Tempe and opened this new store, I named it for its location just “on the corner of campus, Jennings said.

Jennings said the most common purchases during the school day are snacks, drinks and convenience items. Campus Corner alsoadvertises affordable priced ASU T-shirts, which are great purchase for home football games.

The College Avenue and University Drive store

Jennings said he really makes it his goal to listen to customer’s needs and wants. He uses price surveys to compete with bigger chain stores in town, like CVS and QuikTrip.

The second Campus Corner opened four years later on Mill Avenue, on a popular corner that Jennings said is in a high rent zone, but is worth it.

The customers that frequent this store are usually employees of Mill Avenue, tourists and students. This store sells a lot of ASU gifts and apparel to out-of-towners and fuels the surrounding local employees with beverages, goodies and basic necessities.

Mill Avenue store has a lot of foot traffic at night and during events, but at night the College Avenue store is quieter and slows down.

Jennings said he wished he didn’t have to deal with the criminal element of being in downtown Tempe.

“We have shoplifters at both stores,” he said. “But I learned you really have to stay on top of running the business.” Jennings works diligently to pay attention to each shop to avoid making costly mistakes.

Campus Corner has been in Tempe for 22 years and will continue to thrive with the support of local residents.

“Tempe has become my home and I don’t think I would want to leave,” he said.

Jennings also participates in the Tempe Leadership Program, which is partnered with the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, helping to connect with others and make a difference in the community of Tempe.


Store Hours:

712 S. College Ave-  7:30 a.m. to 10p.m.

603 S. Mill Ave-  8 a.m. to 10 p.m.