DECATUR, Ind. (WANE) — Business owners in Decatur are encouraging the community to rally around locally-owned establishments.
Hundreds of cars lined the streets of Decatur as people turned out for Kickstart Decatur, a pulled-pork meal cruise-in that incentivizes people to spend money at some of Decatur’s locally owned establishments. The effort was organized by a group of Decatur business owners who saw their peers struggling and wanted to help.
“I see the local restaurants, the local business people suffering,” said Mark Bulmahn, President of Masters Heating and Cooling. “We’re one of the fortunate ones that are still working and hasn’t been crippled as bad but I see so many restaurants that are having a hard time.”
Bulmahn said he reached out to Josh Krueckeberg, owner of Krueckeberg Auction and Reality about getting something together and three weeks later they managed to get a group of Decatur business owners who pulled together $40,000 to funnel into the community. The first 800 cars were given $50 worth of Decatur Dollars, which are gift certificates that are good at a variety of Decatur restaurants and shops.
“This is not money that these people are going to save,” said Decatur mayor Dan Rickord. “We want them to put it back in the economy as fast as they can. We’re talking $40,000 plus whatever’s donated so it’s just going to be amazing. This money’s going injected into the economy really soon.”
Those who managed to get an envelope of Decatur Dollars and one of the more than 2,000 meals that were passed out said what drew them to the cruise-in was a want to support those in our area struggling because of the pandemic.
“I think this is great to help the community,” said Jenny Rubalcada. “I think it’s a wonderful thing that things are going on like this during this time.”
Luis Ramirez said he was at the laundromat when he heard about the event but wanted to do what he could to help others who are struggling.
“With how a lot of the businesses had to close down recently because of the whole COVID-19 thing, it’s good to support all of our local shops,” said Ramirez. “Especially because people still have to pay bills even though nobody comes in and it’s hard for everybody.”
There are currently no plans to hold another cruise-in, but Bulmahn said he likes the idea of doing something like this again, possibly next year.
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