Oregon District employees reflect on Gem City Shine

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Gem City Shine concert brought thousands of residents and supporters down to the Oregon District for shopping, music, and community.

“Last night we retook the Oregon District,” said Omega Music employee Chuck Papp. “That was important to all of us.”

Oregon District businesses have seen countless people walk through their stores in the weeks following the tragedy. Many came to pay respects to the victims and others came to show support for the neighborhood and it’s businesses. 

Employees at multiple locations said they thought Gem City Shine was very positive for the neighborhood and believed it lifted spirits for the whole city. 

“It was therapeutic,” Papp said. 

After the tragic shootings, thousands flocked to the neighborhood. Many of the businesses felt overwhelmed by the media, the amount of people, and the emotions of working so close to the incident. 

“Right after the shooting we were all pretending that things were normal,” Papp said. “We’re just trying to do our job. It was strange to pretend like it was okay and nothing had changed when it had [changed].”

Several people said that they hoped the Gem City Shine event would be a turning point for the city and a renewed chance to return to normal.

“You could just see it in everyone’s faces,” Papp said. “It was a melting pot of everyone in the community, together and having a good time.”

Press coffee shop is located directly across the street from where the stage was set up for the performers. 

Press owner and operator Janell Barker said they were open all day throughout the event and saw many smiling faces. 

“We had nothing but a really positive experience,” Barker said. “Everyone was in good spirits. It was emotional but there were no problems.”

Barker said that despite the many happy faces, she knew there were many mixed emotions about how much the business owners would continue to use the tragedy as a way to encourage business. 

“You can only ask people for money so much,” Barker said. She hoped the money would go to proper families, but also emphasized that tornado victims and others still need help as well. 

Employees at multiple locations said they hoped that Gem City Shine would help the community return to normal. 

“I hope it’s a turning point,” Barker said. “I think it is.”

View photos from the event in the photo gallery below:

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