Santa’s Toys ready for season with high-profile partner

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By The Staff




SANTA CLAUS – Santa’s Toys held a grand re-opening Friday, Nov. 9 with a special ribbon cutting ceremony. Helping owner’s Mark and Heidi Schmidt take their store to the next level was Marcus Lemonis, an International Entrepreneur from CNBC’s television program The Profit. Television cameras were scattered throughout the store and event capturing the special re-opening. The Santa Claus Optimist Club served cookies and hot chocolate to visitors and, despite the chilly weather, there was a crowd of people eager to see what changes had been made to the toy store.

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Kathy Reinke, Executive Director of the Spencer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, thanked everyone who came out for the grand re-opening as well as the owners.

“I want to thank Mark and Heidi Schmidt for coming into our community two years ago,” Reinke said. “They have put a wonderful business in our community that was much needed. We have such other fabulous businesses right around here but what better commerce and what better business to have in Santa Claus, Indiana than Santa’s Toys? We really do appreciate you guys.”

 The Spencer County Regional Chamber of Commerce members, Lieutenant Governor of Indiana Suzanne Crouch and State Representative Steve Bartels were also present for the ribbon cutting.

Mark Schmidt said it had been a fun and amazing road to get to where they are. He explained he and his family had moved to the area two years ago and they fell in love with the town, the people and the atmosphere.

“We’re really, really thankful for all of you, all of your support,” Schmidt said. “We want to continue growing and getting better.”

In keeping with the spirit of Christmas during his speech at the ribbon cutting, Lemonis said it was about three months ago when he received a call from Santa Claus telling him he knew of a couple with a wonderful family that had a business is Santa Claus but he had some concerns about what he had seen through the video cameras.

“Ultimately, what Santa wanted to do was put a family back together when it comes to running their business and Mark and Heidi have made a ton of sacrifices to come to a wonderful town and to bring what I think is Santa’s wish to life which is to make kid’s happy, to make adults happy and to do it the right way; hard work, treating your customers right, treating your employees right and staying off the naughty list,” Lemonis said.

He explained the Town of Santa Claus was much more than just a town and for those who had not been there before, him included, it was a miracle.

“It’s a miracle that should never die and if you don’t believe in Santa Claus you should take a trip to this town because I think you’ll realize it really is true,” he said.

Lt. Governor Crouch said she had grown up in Evansville and she had many memories of visiting Santa Claus as a child and then with her own daughter.

“This is a magical part of our lives and to have people come to Indiana and invest in our state is just incredible,” Crouch said.

Crouch explained both she and Governor Holcomb were appreciative of Heidi and Mark for what they had done and were so appreciative to Marcus for investing in this business in Indiana. As Lt. Governor, Crouch said she also heads up tourism in Indiana and it is such a part of Indiana’s economy and this was a part of that tourism.

“To be in the business of making children happy and to be a part of a community that is all a part of our lives is such a special, special, special thing so on behalf of Governor Holcomb and I, we congratulate you,” Crouch said.

Reinke rounded out the speeches with a special thank you to the late Bill Koch and to his wife Pat Koch, who came for the ribbon cutting.

“We very much appreciate everything she continues to do for our community,” Reinke said.