Youngstown businesses brightening Lives
By Ashley Luthern
The lights aren’t just twinkling on Market Street.
They’re glowing with holiday cheer, too.
Outside Youngstown Cycle Supply, 6915 Market St,, strings of lights in all shades loop around shrubs, electrified candy canes swing from a sign and a motorcycle frame is illuminated by two wreaths in place of wheels.
“We get a little crazy with the lights,” admitted Megan Stevens, vice president of Youngstown Cycle Supply.
The display is part of Brighten Up for the Kids, a holiday charity project founded by Stevens and Bob Lancey, president of Audio Extreme on Market Street.
The decorations are meant to cheer up staff and patients at Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, which is near Cycle Supply, Stevens said. A toy drive also is under way.
Lancey said the lights started as a joke.
“It became a war to see who could put more abundant lighting and see who will get done first,” said Lancey, whose shop is outlined with white lights.
Lancey said Pizza Joe’s and Christmas Automotive are part of the holiday light display, too. He said he hopes people think of two things when driving on the northern end of Market Street: “Christmas cheer and the season of giving.”
In 2010, Stevens and Lancey started Brighten Up and collected about 500 toys. Last year, it was 2,000.
“We’re hoping to get more and continue to grow and grow,” Stevens said.
Many Youngstown Cycle Supply customers look forward to the toy drive and ask when it will start, she added.
“One gentleman brought in 25 white stuffed bears wearing green scarves and red sweaters. He doesn’t have anyone to do things for this holiday, and it’s amazing that he comes here and donates,” Stevens said.
Cycle Supply is collecting new coloring books and crayons, books, games, activity sets and toy cars for patients at Akron Children’s Hospital. Donations can be dropped off at Cycle Supply by Jan. 7 and should be unwrapped.
Stevens said she will take an early trip to the hospital Dec. 23, before Christmas, with donations.
“This is a good cause. People see [the hospital] in our community. They might live right down the street from us and they know [the toy] is going to the hospital right around the corner. It’s nice that people still have it in them to do this,” she said.