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Indianapolis Small Businesses Taking Big Steps

The world as we’ve known it has come to a screeching halt over the past couple of months. The doors of schools and most businesses have closed, leaving people scrambling for ways to make do. Parents have suddenly become homeschool teachers and business owners are suddenly forced to figure out how to keep the lights on without customers in their stores.

But if tough times teach us anything, it’s that Hoosiers are a crafty and resilient bunch.

We wanted to highlight some Indianapolis-area businesses that have pivoted how they operate in order to stay open and continue to serve their customers during this difficult time*. We know we’re leaving a lot off this list and we hope you’ve found local businesses to turn to and support in your neighborhood!

*Please note that the information below is according to when the article was written in April 2020.

Rebel Vintage

1051 E. 54th St., Suite A, Indianapolis
317-602-2388

Opening just a year ago in May 2019, Rebel Vintage has had a warm welcome in the Midtown area. With different local vintage and secondhand brands all living under the Rebel roof, the shop is “merging community, creativity and sustainability.” Shop by day and event space by night, Rebel thrives as an in-person community.

The Pivot: Moving to strictly an online store has been a challenge, but Rebel is flexing their creativity, most notably with their “Treat Yer Self” sets and handmade buy-one-give-one cotton face masks. The sets are collections of goodies from the shop, curated by color, and packed full of pick-me-ups that you can keep for yourself or use as gifts. The washable face masks are handmade by local artists and for each one purchased, one is donated to a healthcare worker. We call that a win-win-win. 

Rebel Vintage. Photo courtesy of www.facebook.com/rebelvintageindy.

Invoke Studio

970 Fort Wayne Ave. #C, Indianapolis
317-631-9642

Indianapolis-based yoga and pilates studio Invoke has been operating since 2005, with Invoke Wellness Center opening in 2013 as well. A reliable local source for fitness and community for many, Invoke offers over 100 yoga, pilates, barre, HIIT and other classes for every kind of person at every fitness level.

The Pivot: As soon as their doors were forced to close, Invoke was very quick to open up their Online Studio. Yogis and fitness enthusiasts have full access to their classes online, which are now streamed live over Zoom. Memberships and class packages can be used for online classes, otherwise each class is $10. The quick thinking and swift transition allowed for connectivity and community to continue, despite the physical distance. 

Invoke Studio. Photo courtesy of www.facebook.com/invokestudio.

Pottery By You

2280 W. 86th St., Indianapolis
317-337-1263

One of Indy’s oldest local pottery studios, Pottery By You creates a space for people to get a little bit messy and a lot bit creative. Home to many birthday parties and girls nights, Pottery By You has made many delightful memories and creations possible, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

The Pivot: To give aspiring artists the opportunity for creativity at home, Pottery By You created To-Go-Go Kits. These kits can be customized and ordered online, with the choice of using either glaze or acrylic paint. If glazed, customers will need to drop pieces back off at the studio to be put in the kiln. Whether you’re celebrating something special during quarantine or are just feeling the need to create something, Pottery By You’s got your back!  

Pottery By You. Photo courtesy of www.facebook.com/PBYindy.

Once Upon a Party

317-597-0250

One-woman show Shauna Williams, otherwise known as Once Upon a Party, can typically be found creating entertaining event and party experiences all around town. Specializing in kids birthday parties, Shauna provides balloon animals, face painting, glitter tattoos and lots of fun memories.

The Pivot: You’d think social distancing would make birthday parties impossible, but not if Shauna has anything to say about it. To provide kids and adults with fun birthday memories despite canceled gatherings, Once Upon a Party quickly redirected to create personalized birthday boxes and gift baskets for kids, tweens, teens and adults. Shipped directly to you or dropped off at your door, these packages are guaranteed to make that special someone feel extra celebrated. 

Once Upon a Party. Photo courtesy of www.facebook.com/ouapindy.

The Kan-Kan Cinema & Brasserie

1258 Windsor St., Indianapolis

Indy’s newest movie theater and restaurant was set to open when the coronavirus hit town. When it opens, the theater will show all kinds of movies, focusing on small-budget, independent films and the restaurant will provide a European-inspired atmosphere and menu. It’s important to note that this will not be a dine-in theater, but will be the perfect spot for a dinner-followed-by-a-movie date!

The Pivot: Despite not being able to physically open their doors, Kan-Kan On-Demand brings indie movies right to your home. Every week, new on-demand movies are available on their website to stream, including a weekly free Friday night movie showing with a live Slack discussion. 50% of the proceeds of any purchased movies (unless stated otherwise) will go to the Kan-Kan and Indianapolis Film Project. Build that blanket fort and enjoy the movie theater at home! 

#AtHomeCinema with the Kan-Kan. Image courtesy of kankanindy.com.

Union Jack Pub

924 Broad Ripple Ave., Indianapolis
317-257-4343

A longtime local favorite in the Broad Ripple area, Union Jack prides itself on being a real tried-and-true part of the community. Serving up tasty meals for all ages, a nice cold beer for the adults and a place to watch your favorite sport, the sudden closing of restaurant doors forced Union Jack to reevaluate. 

The Pivot: Making changes quickly to protect both their staff and customers, Union Jack was one of the first local restaurants to offer delivery and no-contact pick-up. To make things better, they began offering take-and-bake pizzas, donating meals to healthcare workers and bringing their food truck around town to help feed essential workers. Like the Union Jack staff says, “Love looks like an empty dining room.”

Union Jack Pub’s food truck, serving essential workers at Kroger. Photo courtesy of www.facebook.com/unionjackpubbroadripple.

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