GREENVILLE — Main Street Greenville’s Board of Directors and the Horse Parade Committee have named Dean and Arlene Bankson, owners of Wieland Jewelers, as the Grand Marshals of the 2016 Hometown Holiday Horse Parade.
When selecting the Grand Marshals for the horse parade, the committee and board considers individuals who support the success of downtown Greenville. Voting to select the Banksons was an easy decision for the 13th annual event.
“Dean and Arlene have owned and operated one of the oldest establishments in downtown Greenville. The couple were also involved with the beginning stages of revitalization efforts in the district,” said Amber Garrett, Executive Director for Main Street Greenville.
Wieland Jewelers opened in 1902 by Roy Wieland. In the 1950’s, Arlene’s father, the late Ivan Spahr purchased the store. In 1968, the Banksons gained ownership and have operated it since.
The store has had multiple locations throughout the years, all of them located downtown Greenville. “Downtown has always been good to us. We’ve never considered moving out of downtown Greenville,” said Dean. “On a regular basis, we have visitors to our community who comment we have the best small downtown they have ever been in.”
In the mid-1970’s, a group of 6-8 business leaders, including Dean, traveled to Shelbyville, IN. The group consisted of downtown building and business owners who were determined to put together a streetscape renovation plan for the downtown Greenville district, based upon the work Shelbyville had recently completed.
The Banksons were also involved in a downtown retail committee through the Greenville Chamber of Commerce who created events or activities in the downtown district.
“The streetscape project and the retail committee were some of the first steps our community took towards keeping our downtown vibrant. If it weren’t for citizen’s forward-thinking action, it is unclear what condition our downtown district would be in today,” said Amber Garrett, Executive Director of Main Street Greenville. “This action allowed for continued revitalization efforts since the late 1970’s, where some communities are just now taking their first steps in 2016.”
“We have a lot of people who come to see us, we have been doing this for a long time,” said Dean. “The businesses downtown feed off each other. If they visit us, they will typically visit at least one additional business when they do.”
In the past, Dean also served on the City of Greenville’s Architectural Review Board, created to maintain the historic integrity of the historic buildings located in downtown Greenville.
The Banksons both graduated from Darke County schools, Arlene from Greenville High School in 1959 and Dean from Ansonia High School in 1956. The Banksons married in December of 1960.
Dean and Arlene have three sons, Mark, Mike, and Matt. Mark and Mike work at the store. Mark’s wife, the former Gail Keller and Mike’s wife, the former Corrin Fitzwater, are also store employees. Matt works for the Ohio Department of Agriculture and is married to the former Heather Vore.