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ECU Homecoming means big bucks for small businesses

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

It’s Homecoming weekend at ECU, and for small businesses that means big bucks.

ECU students and alumni return to their pirate roots and open their wallets for the big event.  

"Now that I’m back, it's just total excitement and it's just, I can't even describe it right now,” says Allison Peterson, an ECU alum from Georgia who hasn’t been back since she graduated in 1994.

That pride for the purple and gold is exactly what small business owners are banking on.

"We have to have more staff,” says Don Edwards, owner of U.B.E. fan gear store in uptown. “We have to get all our merchandise ready. We have to make the store look absolutely the very best it can look."

Edwards says during Homecoming, his shop gets 10 times the business of an average day.

Restaurants under-whelmed by Halloween also hope to bounce back with the crowds.

"We’re expecting to be pretty big and we have the manpower to cover it and to run smoothly,” says Scott Allenspach, event coordinator and bartender at Peasant’s Pub of 5th Street. “We have some great bands that we lined up just for Homecoming, so it should be a good time here at Peasant's Pub."

Uptown Greenville Director Bianca Shoneman says all 25 hotels in town are booked, and overall, she anticipates the city will make up to $4 million this weekend.

"It's just a really great opportunity to see everything that uptown Greenville and the city of Greenville has to offer by way of independent restaurants, big chain restaurants, unique cultural events and of course, the spirit of ECU, which is Pirate football,” she says.

If you want to join in on the fun, Freeboot Friday kicks off at 5 p.m. at Five Points Plaza in uptown.ECU head football coach Ruffin McNeill will speak at 5:15, followed by an announcement for Homecoming Court and ECU student skit performances.

At 7 p.m. the ECU Marching Pirates, cheerleaders and dance team will perform. There are activities for kids throughout the event, including bounce houses, clowns and face painting. A live performance by Spare Change will cap off the night.

For a full schedule of events, click here: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-studentaffairs/sao/studentactivities/homecoming.cfm

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