Mike Foy has lived in Fairborn his whole life and has been into Halloween for as long as he can remember.
Mike’s grandfather, Albert, opened a sweet shop bakery in 1912 in Versailles. He owned it for 17 years before selling it to the current owners, who still have it open for business.
When Albert developed heart disease at the age of 58, he decided to open a variety store in 1929 in Osborn, which later became Fairborn. It was about 40 miles away from his original shop.
Mike’s father took over the stores in the 1940s, which is when Mike began working there every day and later became partner in 1978. Mike’s 22-year-old son will be the fourth generation to take over the stores.
There are six different shops, including the variety store, the adult costume store, the kids costume store, the haunted house and special effects store, a restaurant and a haunted museum.
Mike runs the variety store, his wife Darla runs the costume store and their son runs the haunted museum.
Mike loves working at Foy’s and loves the people of Fairborn, and that’s why we chose him as our Daytonian of the Week.
This year is the 90th anniversary. What can you tell me about that? How does it make you feel?
This is our 90th anniversary this year, 10 more years is our hundredth, so I can’t wait for that. I grew up here. It’s just a part of me. It’s home.
I’m proud that my store can continue 90 years. No it’s not anything that I started, but to have it, to keep it going, to me is a big deal. I want it to continue. I want it to go into the fourth generation. Not too many places can say they did that, so I want it to keep going.
Why do you think everyone loves the different stores and the decorations?
You can come to Fairborn and look around at our displays. My grandma’s house, nobody’s lived in it for 30 years, and I keep it just to decorate for Halloween. I bought the property across the street about 15 years ago just for the pirate scene. That’s all we use it for.
It means so much to me that I want something to continue. You can come to downtown Fairborn and not spend any money, just walk around and enjoy it. People come from everywhere to come here. Once they come here, they’ll come back again just because it’s a Halloween town.
Since Foy’s has been here, do you think it’s made the love for Halloween bigger in Fairborn?
It has. I’ll tell you how crazy it is. I have eight hearses just for Halloween. I like them because they’re Halloween. Everybody’s used to Halloween here now. Everybody knows what it is. Everybody knows when they see me driving one. I have fun. Everything here is fun.
What’s your favorite thing about Halloween and Fairborn?
I like the excitement — the excitement of seeing the different people. I see people in here I haven’t seen for 12 months. Some people I haven’t seen for 30 years. Every day is something different. I have fun in here.
I love the people of Fairborn. I know so many people that live here, so I like Fairborn for the people. Everything about Fairborn is neat to me. Everybody is nice to me.
What makes you keep the legacy of Foy’s going? How do you feel about still being a part of it?
I love Fairborn, and I’ve been here my whole life, and never lived anywhere but here. So I want everything in Fairborn to be better.
I started a car show with another guy 30 years ago, and the car show is still going on. My dad started an Easter egg hunt 60 years ago, and I took it over when he died. I’m part of the Chamber of Commerce that does the Easter egg hunt and I make sure it still happens. Our Halloween parade is 70 years old. On everything that goes on in Fairborn, I try to be a part of so it continues.
I get a charge out of being in the same store that I crawled around on the floor on. Everything in here it reminds me of my Dad, reminds me of my Grandpa, so it gives me more energy. When I get frustrated, when I’m here after close, I can talk to them and they answer me.
Describe the first feeling and/or interaction with Halloween that you can remember.
Probably the biggest thing I would remember is going to New York City and picking the new items out. I was 10, you had to be 18 to get in, but they still let me in. To be there and be a part of it, something I wasn’t supposed to be at, that was probably the biggest thing I remember.
What’s your favorite thing to do on Halloween?
The only thing I miss is going to haunted houses. I can’t do that anymore, but I wish I could go.
I’m into cars. I love hot rods, and I bought this car 40 years ago, and I was driving it around on trick-or-treat. That just shows me, 40 years ago I could get out of the store on trick-or-treat, now I couldn’t if I had to, but things have changed and I’m busier than I once was. When I dress up in here, that’s about all I can do.