Local college shop is closing at the end of the semester

WKU apparel store College Graffiti will close at the end of the semester after 30 years of business. Owner Diane Signorello said purchases may still be made online after the storefront closes.

Eleanor Tolbert

Covered wall-to-wall with Greek-lettered shirts, WKU towels and personalized bags, College Graffiti has been a landmark in Bowling Green for the past 30 years. 

The local WKU apparel store will be closing its doors at the end of this semester. Owner Diane Signorello and her daughter Patty Gay, the manager, said they find this time bittersweet but necessary.

“We’re just ready to retire,” Signorello said.

The store opened in August of 1988 while Gay was at WKU and couldn’t find stores with merchandise for Greek organizations. Gay was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, and she and her mother could not find any apparel featuring the sorority’s mascot. To solve the problem, Signorello decided to open her own store.

“We were established because of Alpha Omicron Pi,” Signorello said. “We have since evolved to other chapters and eventually went storefront.”

The storefront is closing, but students will still be able to make purchases online. Gay and Signorello said business is okay during the school year, but because of breaks and the fact their primary customers are college students, it’s not enough to stay open.

“The traffic of college students is not the best,” Gay said. “They don’t shop brick-and-mortar.”

Throughout the years, College Graffiti has been very active in WKU’s Greek community. They have donated to every philanthropy, judged pageants for sorority and fraternity fundraisers, and attended Greek Week in the Spring almost every year.

“We have so much personal contact with our customers,” Signorello said. “It’s hard to give it up.”

Sophomore Hannah Hoerlein, 19, a member of Kappa Delta said she is sad to see College Graffiti go.

“We get our shirts from them every year,” Hoerlein said. “It is such a nice, family-friendly environment.”

Hoerlein said she has purchased many items from College Graffiti, including shirts, sweaters, keychains and stickers. She said her experiences with the store have always been good.

“They are such generous and helpful people,” Hoerlein said. “Patty sat with me one day for about four hours until the store closed and helped me pick out the right print for our shirts.”

Jacob Hayslip, 22, a senior and member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, only had good things to say about the store. He said he has purchased shirts and flags from them and said services are quick and affordable.

“They’ve always been courteous, polite and helpful with what my needs were,” Hayslip said. “They will be missed.”

Signorello and Gay said they want WKU students to know how much they love and appreciate their business.

“Our shoppers are our family,” Signorello said. “We have a College Graffiti family with WKU.”

College Graffiti will be available for group orders when a chapter wants to buy a product. The organization just needs to notify the store and they will receive a link.

College Graffiti can be contacted by phone, (270) 796-8528, or by email. They also have a website and can be reached on social media, through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the sorority Alpha Omicron Pi as Alpha Omega Pi. The Herald regrets the error.

Features reporter Eleanor Tolbert can be reached at 250-386-4608 and [email protected] Follow on her on social media at @ellietolbert.