This article is part of Indianapolis Monthly’s The New Downtown package, which includes a guide to five hotspots, a few big city problems, and a look at what’s next for the city. For more content on navigating the new downtown, click here.
As a Carmelite who commutes downtown almost daily, I have found a lot of joy in witnessing the transformation of Indianapolis. Indy’s core is bursting with enthusiasm and vibrancy. But ever since Nordstrom fled Circle Centre, it seems that the majority of Indy’s fashionistas have abandoned downtown as a viable shopping destination for apparel. Style-loving souls like owners of Boomerang BTQ, Lux & Ivy, and Righno continue to try and plug the gaping clothing-boutique hole downtown, but the harsh reality is that making money as a small business is incredibly difficult. As I write this, Pattern Workshop is shedding its retail operations and switching our Mass Ave storefront into a maker co-op of sorts. For every person who is excited about “made in Indiana,” 50 end up shopping at their local Target. What’s ironic is that these same people don’t mind driving downtown to drop $100 on dinner. How about sticking around or arriving earlier, and checking out the fashion scene? For those indie retailers trying to make a go of it downtown, every $50 sale is a huge victory.