MBDC Press Release


Media Contact:

Becky S Wilson, WDS Marketing & Public Relations

Phone (913) 362 4541


Mission Business Development Committee Celebrates Fifth Anniversary
MBDC Excels in Promoting Mission Through Popular Community Events

Mission, KAN (October 24, 2008): On the 4th Tuesday evening of each month, a diverse group of dedicated citizens meet at the Sylvester Powell, Jr. Community Center to plan and produce three unique community events each year to showcase Mission, Kansas. Though none of volunteers are professional event planners, the group has excelled in their duties which include selecting the activities, setting and following budgets, hiring the entertainment, securing corporate event sponsorships, recruiting vendors, outlining marketing options, and taking care of the hundreds of details for the events. Operating as the Mission Business Development Committee (MBDC), their prime objective is to assist in the revitalization of the Mission, Kansas business district.

MBDC is celebrating their fifth anniversary this fall. Suzie Gibbs, Mission Council Ward IV Representative, has been the group’s chairperson since its formation. “I can think of no other city in Kansas that has a volunteer organization similar to MBDC which now has successfully developed and coordinated fifteen events and four private art showings.” Mission has no merchant’s association to undertake the planning and funding of events or promotions, as do some other area smaller cities or business districts.

Established in 2003 by the City of Mission, MBDC's members are appointed by the mayor and include representatives from the business community, non-profit groups, the private sector, and city representatives. The current members include Dave Conradt, (Key Access Solutions) Vice Chair, Lisa Bunce, (Kansas Gas Service), Hersh Casey, (Casey Brothers Sinclair), Arrica Crossley (Rushton PTA,) Celia Dalton (Mission Hy-Vee), Lynn Kring, (Kring Associates), Bill McCrea (resident), Chad Owens (Mission Pet Mart), Sandy Perry (Resident), Judy Riedel (MGI Promotions) Carrie Slattery, (University of Kansas Hospital), Sherry Stroud, (Mission Bank), Nicole Trembley (Resident), Becky Wilson (WDS Marketing & Public Relations), Nicole White (Shawnee Mission North HS Intern), Kathy Lockard (Mission Parks and Recreation), Martin Rivarola (Mission Community Development), Capt. Ben Hadley (Mission Police Department) and Lt. Ken Smith (Mission Police Department). “I am a member of MBDC and help sponsor our events. I enjoy having a voice in how Mission is promoted. We must maintain a viable business district and our group is helping through our activities,” adds Hersh Casey, Casey Brothers Sinclair.” 

According to Gibbs, the MBDC events have evolved since their inceptions, offering a changing variety of activities and entertainment to appeal to both adults and children. The ‘Spirit of Mission Days’ no longer includes a cattle drive with horses and riders herding them down Johnson Drive. A more traditional parade with local bands, floats and a grand marshal has taken its place. Gibb’s group decided to hire a professional carnival this year and it was very successful, helping to raise funds for the event. Combo jazz groups from Shawnee Mission North High School replaced professional bands in 2008 and proved to be just as popular with the crowds. The MBDC made a donation to the Shawnee Mission North HS Music Department as a thank you for their participation. The Spirit of Mission Days is now scheduled annually on the Friday evening and Saturday before Mother’s Day.

MBDC event costs are unwritten by vendor fees, corporate sponsorships, and designated funds provided by the first year’s sales tax from the Mission Target Store. AT&T, Keystone Chrysler, Black & Veatch, KMBZ/KUDL, Casey Brothers Sinclair, Batson Liquor, Mission Bank, Answer Pro, Casey’s Auto Repair, Deffenbaugh Industries, Mission Springs, Kansas Gas Service, KCP&L, Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Trans Systems, Credit Union of Johnson County, Keith and Wilson, DDS, All Weather Window & Door, Mission Bowl, Target, and Mission Pet Mart are businesses that were sponsors of MBDC events in 2008. “We are proud of Mission and we want people to know about what our city has to offer. Through our MBDC events those who come get to experience in an enjoyable way our small town friendly atmosphere,” according to MDBC member Judy Riedel, MGI Promotions.

A subgroup of the MBDC is the Mission Arts Council (MAC), which hosts an annual ‘Evening with the Arts,’ in September, a ‘by invitation’ showing of artwork created by area professional artists combined with a reception held at the Sylvester Powell, Jr. Community Center. The members of the MAC select the artists for this event, assist in hanging the artwork, secure sponsors, compile the invitation list, select the hors d’oeuvres and host the reception. A portion of the sales from the artwork is used underwrite the next year’s event.

MBDC’s ‘Arts & Eats Festival,’ held in September, is now staged around the Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center, instead of expanding down the main corridor of Mission, which caused some retailers to be closed, or incur business losses during the event. A “Battle of the Brisket” State Barbeque Championship became a part of the two-day event in 2007. This year 57 barbeque teams vied for top honors and prize money, and helped draw a record crowd to the festival. Participants included top barbecue team competitors, a Boy Scout troupe, area business teams, and even a group of policemen and firefighters.

The MBDC likes to include activities that appeal to children. For Arts & Eats, Gibbs secured the donation of 60 plastic rain barrels and asked schoolchildren and volunteers to paint them. The colorful barrels were then on display and auctioned during the festival, with the funds going to designated charities. “Our goal is to provide a wide variety of activities, arts and crafts, delicious food, and lively free entertainment in a comfortable, relaxed environment that all ages will enjoy,” adds Gibbs. “In addition to Mission residents, we see an increasing number of visitors to our events from all over the Kansas City. We hope they will come back and shop in our stores, dine in our restaurants, or even consider making Mission their home.”

Upcoming is the MBDC’s ‘Holiday Lights & Festive Sights,’ scheduled for Friday evening, December 5, 2008, on Johnson Drive, between Woodson and Beverly. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., activities including the Dino O’Dell Interactive Children’s Show, a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, free S’mores, city tree lighting ceremony, street vendors, and face painting. At 8:15 p.m., there will be a festive musical fireworks display.

Members of the MDBC not only plan the events, they roll up their sleeves and serve as volunteers. They spend many long hours setting up the tents, hanging the signage, emptying the trash containers, putting posters in business windows, assisting the vendors, and even selling beverages. Gibbs is amazed at how well her volunteers perform in unfamiliar roles. “I could not ask for a better group of people than our MBDC members. Each one brings a special talent, and we consistently have fresh ideas and good input from them,” says Gibbs. In 2007, the MBDC decided to begin recognizing an outstanding member for service to the group. Mission resident Bill McCrea was the first honoree. “I really do enjoy being a member of the organization. Proudly, MBDC excels at promoting Mission which we believe has much potential. We really do have a good time.” The 2008 MBDC honoree will be announced at the City of Mission’s Annual Dinner.

The MBDC, with the support of City of Mission staff, administers a grant program available to owners of business properties located within commercial or mixed-use zoning in the City of Mission. A 50% re-imbursement of up to $10,000 is available for the cost of exterior improvements. As of December 31, 2007, the MBDC and Mission businesses generated $432,492.00 toward revitalizing Mission.  Grant application information and community event information is on-line at www.MBDCKS.org.

For more information about the MBDC, or to volunteer for an event, contact Suzie Gibbs, MBDC Chair, (913) 671-8564.