There sure is lots of buzz around Kent surrounding the new holiday lights. It was awesome to see the employees of the Davey Tree Expert Co. and the City of Kent installing the decorations from their bucket trucks in November, piecing the decorations together so that everything looks just right. What a stellar example of people, from both the public and private sectors, working together seamlessly for the good of all! Every evening, the twinkling lights illuminate the streets, while visitors and locals alike enjoy the variety of unique shops, live music, and eateries in downtown Kent. It has made this holiday season in Kent much brighter, in so many ways.
Many of the downtown shop windows are decorated and lit up beautifully this year as well. On Nov. 23, the official judging took place when Kent's Mayor Jerry Fiala, Police Chief Michelle Lee, and Lieutenant Rich Lynn chose the winners of the "Winter Wonderland" contest sponsored by The Burbick Foundation and Main Street Kent. First place winner was Williams, Welser, Kratcoski & Can, LLC; second place: McKay Bricker Framing & Black Squirrel Gifts; third place: Baked in the Village Café; runner-up: Gracy Lane. Be sure to drive through (and around) downtown Kent to see the windows - and the 16-foot Santa on the side of the old hotel (soon to be Acorn Corner)!
The plan is to keep the decorations up at least until mid-January, depending on the weather, so we hope you enjoy them.
At Main Street Kent, we're already working on the plan to expand the holiday decorations next year when more of the construction is complete. This collaborative effort resulted from many local businesses, organizations and individuals coming together. It would not have been possible without The Burbick Foundation and Davey Tree Expert Company, the key contributors to the holiday lights campaign. If you would like to get involved, feel free to call Main Street Kent at 330-677-8000 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many downtown merchants are enjoying increased sales, and lots of new faces in their stores, as a result of the revitalization and ongoing promotion of Kent. The 2012 Small Business Saturday event yielded excellent results in November, and continues into December.
McKay Bricker Framing & Black Squirrel Gifts (www.mckaybricker.com) owner Bob Mayfield stated, "We're just thrilled with the additional business we're seeing this year. Main Street Kent is doing a great job bringing people downtown through events and collaborative advertising efforts."
Michelle Sahr, owner of Off the Wagon (www.offthewagonshop.com) reports, "Our sales are way up. We are seeing a lot more foot traffic this year."
Kevin Yohn, co-owner of Taco Tonto's (www.tacotontos.com) said, "Business is great. We have such great, loyal customers. I couldn't be happier." Kevin and Emily Yohn opened a second location in Lakewood earlier this year, with co-owners Jill and John Crino, and both locations are thriving.
Look forward to Chocolate Walk
Once the holidays are over, then what?
Just as winter is wearing out its welcome, Main Street Kent will bring some endorphins back into your life with the Chocolate Walk. Save the date for Saturday, Feb. 9, just before Valentine's Day, and treat someone to a fun tour of Kent, with a chocolate treat at every stop. Tickets are just $15 and will go on sale Jan. 2 at McKay Bricker Framing & Black Squirrel Gifts and online at www.mainstreetkent.org. At 1 p.m., event-goers will meet at Earl's Nest (in Acorn Alley, next to the Arctic Squirrel) to pick up their Chocolate Walk "passes." Then they can explore the participating businesses at their leisure, sampling and collecting their chocolate creations along the way. It's a great way to spend a winter afternoon with someone special - a sweetheart or a friend.
For further information about this event, please call Main Street Kent at 330-677-8000. Enjoy Kent!
Heather Malarcik is executive director of Main Street Kent.