Kim Leader came to work Tuesday in a black smock and hot pink shoes ready to help her customers look their best, but her first order of business was making her Campustown shops appear aesthetically pleasing.
Overnight Monday someone ripped out her landscaping plant by plant and threw them all into the street, kicked in a utility door and tried to pull up a bench, Leader said.
“I had to get the shovel out,” she said.
Leader, who has operated RockStarz & Groupies Hair Studio for three years and opened the Pink Beaver Waxing Studio one year ago, is used to seeing litter and slight vandalism Saturday and Sunday mornings, but this was Tuesday.
So Leader did something unusual, she called police. Her business is so often the target of drunken vandalism that Leader said that she feels silly making reports.
People often spit on her display window and throw trash on the ground, a common experience among business owners, said Kim Hanna, Campustown Action Association director.
“Business owners are sick of having to clean up,” Leader said.
The Campustown Action Association will discuss the topic at its monthly meeting 4 p.m. Thursday at Charlie Yoke's.
“We are working with the city police department to figure out a game plan,” Hanna said.
In 2011, nine blocks of Campustown saw 35 percent of the city's drug and alcohol crimes, according to a city report about installing surveillance cameras that was presented to the Ames City Council in June.
Hanna said business owners often have to clean up litter but for some reason Leader's landscaping has become a repeated target.
The women theorize it's because her Chamberlain Street business is one of the last stops on the way to apartments on Lynn and Stanton Avenues so that's where people take out their frustrations.
Leader has tried installing video cameras to deter vandalism, but people rip them down. People spit on her display window so often that she has hired a Sunday window cleaner.
Leader knows that college age drinking and other ruckus won't stop completely, but she does have an idea that would give business owners some relief. She thinks that Iowa State University should require students convicted of an alcohol-related offense to spend Sundays cleaning up Campustown streets.
“I think it's a really interesting idea,” Hanna said. “I'm open to having a community service program in Campustown.”
Hanna said the association is currently forming a beautification program called Make Campustown Shine.