Smyrna Depot Days spotlight small businesses
Thousands of people have come to Front Street to celebrate the recent Smyrna Depot Days, which took place in late September. The event shines a light on small businesses, features a beer garden, features great cuisine from local food trucks and features music from emerging talent on two stages. This year it had over 100 booths, many of which represented small local manufacturers.
“This event was started 14 years ago to just try to market small business and attract people so they can see what small businesses have to offer,” said Molly Jennings, member of the Smyrna Independent Merchants Association (SIMA), one of the event’s sponsors. “But this year we have more small home businesses represented, like this lady who just paints and paints. I am so happy for her. I see all kinds of people leaving with a work of art.
Celebration Records, owned by Mark Henes, provided the talent for the performance scene that sits at the end of the old train depot, from which the event takes its name. And Carpe Artista, another sponsor of the event, once again offered great musical talent on the stage in front of their cafe.
Henes started working with Carpe Artista several years ago, but he started to promote new talents. Now he takes care of artist development, marketing, promotion, public relations, reservations and management. He introduced many young musicians he works with to the community through this year’s event.
“The historic district is the heart of our community and the perfect setting for residents to come together for family events,” said Smyrna Mayor Mary Ester Reed, representing the third partner in the creation and management of Depot Days . Family activities included face painting and mini train rides. Makeup artists have transformed many children in everything from butterflies to Spiderman.
Stalls representing local churches, dentists, banks, insurance agents and many artists and artisans filled the streets. There were soap makers, sign makers, artists, artisans and more.
Tiffany Hoffman and Ron Mendoza had a stand that caught the eye because of the old disks with cutout bat shapes hanging from the roof of their tent. They were carrying an eclectic stew of items they recycled.
“Our store is called ‘Back to the Future’ because we like to take old things and turn them into something different. Like rings made from old watch parts.
Says his catchy old records partner: “We love music. We love to recycle. We love bats.
Another booth sold unique signs laser cut from sheet steel. The duo behind the booth will custom make a sign for a home or business, but their most eye-catching items come from the world of Harry Potter. They donated a Hogwarts Castle wall hanging and one with the Harry Potter logo.
“My dad cut industrial sheet metal panels for 30 years,” said Andrew Polinsky, part owner of the company. While the pandemic stopped, he decided he wanted to learn how to do it. Now his wife Kaylyn creates the designs and he does the cut. They started making panels, but now they are creating handrails, gates, furniture and much more.
The Nolensville-based Summit Sports Center also made an appearance at the event, putting on a show put on by incredible gymnasts and tumblers. On the lawn in front of the Depot, a group of very talented young men and women flew through the air and landed on a series of mats.
While there was plenty to keep visitors entertained, the biggest draw was the good food. There was barbecue, Jamaican ice, crushed ice, Italian ice and lots of good southern food. Some of the restaurants on Front Street also served specialties in outdoor cafes.
On the Friday night before Depot Days, there was a classic car show hosted by Smyrna Parks and Recreation, as well as a wine tasting sponsored by Smyrna Divine Wine and Spirits. Proceeds from ticket sales for the event will be donated to a local non-profit organization.
When the event was over and the sun started to decline, organizers were sure to hear Mayor Reed say, “f