DBMA reflects on a successful year, looks toward future
Monday, 14 January 2013 by Grayson Edds
Five years ago, the DBMA was started by a handful of women who were looking to revitalize Belton's downtown.
"We all had a common goal," said Moore, "to bring vitality to the downtown area."
The goals of the association were more than just that, though. They wanted to become a nonprofit organization, to raise money to support the community and bring people downtown to shop. After receiving their nonprofit accreditation early on it 2012, they've achieved all three goals. Out of a dream to grow the association along with attracting consumers to Belton's downtown, Market Days were born.
"In the beginning Market Day was just a way to bring people down, make some money for advertising and to give to our nonprofit," Moore said. "That thought was great. We weren't going to just be Market Day; we were going to do other things as well. It was a great thought. However, Market Day has become so successful and time consuming and large that it's all we've been able to do. Between running our own businesses and then putting together Market Day, we have to really work together."
As the Downtown Belton Merchants Association begins their fifth year in existence, president Michelle Moore said she and the association are grateful for what 2012 brought and hopeful for what lies in store for 2013.
In 2012, the DBMA hosted Market Day each month with special focuses during May, October and December. But on top of their monthly event, they also presented their second annual Old Fashioned Christmas Parade.
"(The Old Fashioned Christmas Parade) was incredibly successful," Moore said. "There were people everywhere lined up on the street to watch our parade. Our first parade was last year and we did it just after dark and we learned a little from that. (The 2011 parade) lasted about 10 minutes. This year it lasted approximately 45 minutes and we had a lot of entries."
Although it rained on their parade, Moore said it didn't dampen the mood of the spectators.
"It was the funniest thing. It was a little misty, but during the parade as we're all lining up and beginning to come around on Central, it actually started dropping drops on us," she said. "It didn't last very long. All of the spectators were out with their umbrellas and it didn't seem to affect them any at all. They were just lined up and down the streets solid. It was great. Santa was here all day so it was a very successful day."
Looking toward 2013, Moore said that she and the association expect for the Market Days to continue to thrive, and they have a growing need for volunteers to donate a couple of hours of their time to assist with parking, offering vendors short breaks or hand out information.
"In the summer we especially need people because we have issues with heat," she said. "Two hours of their day is really helpful and it's benefiting downtown."
The DBMA accepts volunteers both young and old, from schools, for community service, or just because. Even with all the hard work that these merchants put forth, Moore said they all believe it's worth it because they believe in Belton.
"I think the most important thing is support your downtown because there are each of our little groups - the merchants, the Gin, the farmer's market - we all believe in this area so much so that we're willing to go the extra mile and we want to bring the people in so we need them to come in and we need them to be supportive and we really do need them to shop locally," Moore said. "And if there's something that they're looking for that one of the stores could carry that we don't, drop in and make a suggestion. We're happy to see if we can accommodate."
For more information on the Downtown Belton Merchants Association, to volunteer or to learn more about Market Days, visit www.downtownbelton.com.