SIDNEY — Juanita “Nita” McCrum, owner of Ron & Nita’s, has been named the grand marshal of the 34th annual Winter Wonderland Lighting Rally and Parade, scheduled for Nov. 20 in downtown Sidney.
The Sidney Downtown Business Association, along with the Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, has planned a tree-lighting ceremony on the courtsquare to begin at 6:30 p.m. and the parade to follow at 7:30 p.m. The parade route will start on Main Avenue at Water Street and continue north to North Street, then west to Ohio Avenue, and south to South Street.
Ron & Nita’s is part of a tradition of shoe stores that have been located on the northeast corner of Main Avenue and Court Street. Owned by the Burkhart family for 99 years — from 1864 until 1964 — the store was purchased by Robert J. Kaser from Marcie Wolaver, a granddaughter of one of the Burkhart brothers. Ron McCrum became manager of the store that was then known as Kayser’s Shoes. In 1978, Ron opened a work clothes store in the downstairs portion of the shoe store for Kenneth Kaser, a son of Robert J. Kaser. Ron operated both stores until 1986, when Ron and his wife, Nita, purchased both businesses. The clothing store was moved upstairs and expanded to carry not only work clothes but also casual men’s wear. Since Ron’s death in 1997, Nita has continued operation of the store. Ron & Nita’s is recognized as the longest continuous location of a shoe store in the state of Ohio.
McCrum is a former Boy Scout den mother and Girl Scout leader and was a member of the Delta Theta Tau sorority. She is active in the Downtown Business Association and a member of the Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. She participates in every downtown business promotion.
McCrum and her staff have created themed, holiday store windows at Ron & Nita’s for 20 years. In 2014, Nita started a new tradition: hosting themed, holiday parties for children at the store. In addition, she participates in the city and county’s decorating of the downtown area at Christmas and has supported the entertainment tent at the Shelby County Fair annually for many years.
Ron & Nita’s also assists with the benefits and fundraisers of dozens of area organizations and serves as a ticket outlet for the Gateway Arts Council.
“Nita is an advocate for our downtown and our community,” said Downtown Sidney Director Amy Breinich. “She is a supporter of many organizations throughout our city and county and always willing to help when she can. She has spent countless dollars and hours to make our downtown and community a better place for all to enjoy! Downtown Sidney would not be the same without Nita and her store. It was an easy decision to ask Nita to be the marshal of this year’s Winter Wonderland Parade.”
But McCrum downplays her activity and support of the community she lives in.
“There are many more people who deserve to be recognized,” she told the Sidney Daily News.
The Winter Wonderland Parade will have a theme of “Parade of Lights.” Each unit in the parade will be decked in lights.
For parade information, call 492-9122.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824. Follow her on Twitter @PASpeelmanSDN.