SMART Looks To Build Off Successful Trick-Or-Treat Night

Members of the St. Marys Area Resource Team and downtown business owners gather in Heritage Park for a picture after a successful HallowNeon. The event allowed children to trick-or-treat downtown after the Rotary Halloween Parade.
Managing Editor

Trick-or-treat in the downtown area was a hit after Tuesday's parade hosted by the St. Marys Rotary Club and a group of business owners is hoping to build off that success.

Businesses that are a part of the St. Marys Area Resource Team (SMART) came up with the idea to hold a trick-or-treat event in a way to promote the downtown area and Laura Yelton, an independent contractor at State Farm and one of the local business owners who spearheaded the group, said the turnout was amazing.

"It was amazing, truly amazing," she added. "I could not have ever imaged this and I think it was a combination of good weather and it did its trick — there were people downtown and there were paying saying how they did not know some of these businesses were down here."

The group's first project was HallowNeon Night, which included distributing bags and maps to trick-or-treaters who were either participated in the St. Marys Rotary parade or attended the parade.
At each stop after the parade, trick-or-treaters collected a neon glow light, bracelet, necklace, a ring and more to wear based on what an individual business wants to give out to represent their business, as well as candy.

Before the night was over, trick-or-treaters and business owners gathered at Heritage Park with all their neon glowing for a group photo. Yelton added that 28 businesses participated in the after-parade event.

"This was our goal, to create awareness to St. Marians and whomever to see what is here and get the ball rolling," Yelton added. "We wanted to create excitement and hopefully it will snowball. Hopefully some of these empty buildings that are rentable will have someone who wants to open a business down here."

SMART's mission statement is “dedicated to fostering growth and development within the St. Marys community through promotion of local information and family-centric events and to cross-promote local businesses, professionals and organizations while continuing the community-minded rich traditions of the St. Marys area.”
Yelton added that businesses were excited for Tuesday’s event which included any business that resides on or around Spring Street, as well the St. Marys VFW and Agape Ministries, Inc., as both setup tents downtown.

"It's our hope to add things for next year and get more businesses involved," Yelton said. "We want family-oriented things to happen downtown. I want to thank all of the businesses that embraced the HallowNeon Night because if they didn't, it wasn't going to go anywhere so I thank all of them for being a part of this and being excited for it."

To build off the success of Tuesday’s event, SMART will hold its next meeting at 7:15 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Canal Room inside the city's utilities building, 106 E. Spring St.

"We will talk a little bit about the SMART organization and let everybody know what the mission statement is," Yelton added. "The exciting thing about this SMART organization is that you have all these business people and meeting of the minds where great things can be accomplished."

Yelton said she has a few quests speakers lined up for the meeting — but did not want to say who yet — wants to discuss the HallowNeon Night and ways to plan for next year as well as hear an update from her niece Lucy Spencer on her Christmas project slated for Dec. 14 at Memorial Park. Ideas on what else the SMART group can so is also encouraged at the meeting.

Yelton emphasized that SMART meetings are not just limited to downtown businesses and business owners. Businesses throughout St. Marys can attend — adding that she has had other businesses outside of the downtown area also show interest.

"I have walked up and down the street a lot and almost everybody has said at some point that they have ideas," Yelton said. "Yay! That is what this is all about. Bring those ideas to the meeting and if you can't come to the meeting, there will be other meetings or put them on the SMART Facebook page."