Downtown abuzz for Customer Appreciation Day

Lured in by sales, free food and activities for children, local residents made their way to downtown Bellefontaine Friday for the Downtown Business Association’s second annual Customer Appreciation Day.


ABOVE: Marlene McKee helps her granddaughter Gracie McKee, 5, pick out a cookie inside Citizens Federal Savings and Loan as employee Kim Norton serves hot dogs to guests. BELOW: Taylor Willliams, daughter of Tonya’s Main Street Deli owner Tonya Williams, paints the hand of Leeah White, 3, as Leeah’s sister Evie, 2, looks on outside at the deli inside the Main Street Marketplace. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Alan Galvez, left, and Trevor Beazley twirl cotton candy as Mr. Galvez’s granddaughter Annika Reynolds, 7, looks on outside the Alan Galvez Insurance office during the Downtown Business Association’s Customer Appreciation Day on Friday.(EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)


“We’re out shopping and having a good time,” Bellefontaine resident Lynda Arehart said as she and her friends Pat Harris and Nikki Smith stopped for hot dogs and cookies at Citizens Federal Savings and Loan.

“We’re going to go see some of the stores we haven’t been in before,” she said, noting that the trio wanted to explore a sale at A New Leaf Florist and check out the new location of the Olde Mint Antique Mall.

The day also served as an opportunity for grandparents to take their grandchildren out for an afternoon of activities.

“We’re enjoying all the goodies and I am seeing a lot of old friends out walking around,: Cheryl Bickham, who worked at the Band-Aid Shop said after she and her grandchildren stopped for cotton candy at Alan Galvez Insurance and cookies at the neighboring Insurance Center.

And her grandchildren were enjoying the chance to be outdoors on a warm day.

“We’re out of the car and out of the shop,” Courtney Knight, 7, said of the chance to get away from her father’s business.

Business owners were also pleased with the turnout.

“I’m tickled to death to see that we’ve got a lot of people downtown,” said Mr. Galvez, who helped reorganize the DBA in recent years and has been instrumental in coordinating events like the Customer Appreciation Day.

At Citizens Federal, which has been recognizing its customers with grilled hot dogs and cookies or ice cream for about two decades now, the chance to be part of the community wide effort was welcomed.

“It is good to see more and more businesses getting involved,” bank president Rick Hatcher said as he and board members watched the grill outside the bank. “We’ve been doing this for a while now; so when they approached us last year about making this a downtown event we thought it was a great idea.”

At Tonya’s Downtown Deli, inside the Main Street Marketplace, which relocated from downtown Urbana within the past year, owner Tonya Williams said business was brisk.

“I think we’re having a good crowd,” she said. “We never had anything like this in Urbana, but it looks like really good for businesses.”