The Adopt-A-Spot location on Sherman Drive between Elm and Locust Streets has been maintained by Rose Costumes for nearly 30 years. In addition to keeping the area litter-free and mowed, Judy Smith, founder of Rose Costumes, decorates the Spot – you may have seen Christmas stockings or sneakers adorning the fence. One pair of these sneakers has very special meaning.
In December 2011, Julia Sandoval stopped by Rose Costumes inquiring if her niece Alexis Mia Sandoval’s shoes could be placed on the fence at the business’ Spot. Mia who had been a first grader at Lee Elementary (now Alexander Elementary) had recently passed away from a rare disease. Judy obliged placing Mia’s shoes in memory of the little girl. The sneakers, decorated with her favorite cartoon Hello Kitty, were signed by her family before having them placed.
A few years later in 2015, a woman brought a man to the counter of Rose Costumes. The couple was Aaron Sandoval, Mia’s father, and Lindsey, his wife, who had been encouraging Aaron to reach out to Judy. He had brought a bouquet of flowers to Judy thanking her for keeping a memorial for his little girl, and asked if there was anything he could do to help. Judy explained that it had become more difficult for her to mow and the additional help she had been receiving had also stopped. Aaron volunteered in the store that day and started mowing the Spot in honor of Mia. He continues to mow and edge the grass weekly.
After meeting Aaron, Judy had a pink memorial sign made for Mia. Each year, for Mia’s birthday, Judy adds a hat or toy next to the sign. In 2018, a little boy asked if he too could have his shoes hung on the fence. Judy happily added the shoes, and says Mia now has a friend.