Car Parade being organized to celebrate both Mother's Day and the businesses of downtown Port Huron

A novel approach to celebrating two things we love, mothers and downtown Port Huron, is making its debut this weekend.

The Mother’s Day Car Parade is the brainchild of Luke and Sindy Marion, Port Huron entrepreneurs that have experienced both the positive and negative effects the COVID-19 pandemic can have on small businesses.

On its face, the Mother’s Day Car Parade is just that. The public is invited to decorate their cars with Mother’s Day greetings and well wishes – no politics, please – and then drive along a predetermined route through downtown Port Huron.

Downtown business owners are encouraged to turn their lights on and make their presence known.

"The focus is on Mother’s Day but the side bonus is touring through downtown Port Huron," Luke says.

"Let’s show that downtown Port Huron still has a heartbeat and that heartbeat is still alive."

The Marions own both MIgardener and the Bella Bolla restaurant. They’ve experienced first-hand the effects the statewide shutdowns have had on small businesses.

While Bella Bolla’s sales have cratered, MIgardener, deemed essential because it sells seeds for fruits and vegetables, has seen its sales skyrocket. Luke says that when the coronavirus forced actions like the stay-at-home orders, MIgardener’s sales tripled overnight.

While the Marions didn’t anticipate that their business would do so well in the midst of a public health crisis, they’ve decided to pay it forward rather than squirrel it away.

The Marions have purchased $5,000 in gift cards from ten downtown Port Huron businesses. They’re planning on handing out the gift cards to the cars that are decorated and participating in the parade.

"We’ve seen a lot of hardship. A lot of friends and neighbors that are small business owners have suffered, and we don’t want that," Luke says.

"We’ve worked so hard as a community to build up our downtown. We’ve worked so hard to rebuild since the recession of 2008. We don’t want to lose that hard work and momentum."

The Mother’s Day Car Parade is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 10. Participating vehicles are to gather at Vantage Point prior to the event.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

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