Deborah Paul Talks Retail Politics

Every candidate has a platform. Here is mine.

According to The Indianapolis Star, the midtown enclave of Broad Ripple has a new “mayor.” The term “mayor” appears in quotes, as the unofficial election took place via a local website. Four hundred readers voted over a three-hour period, and Chez Roberts, 44, won the count. He has lived in Broad Ripple for 20 years, works at Ambrosia restaurant, and would like to combat crime in the area by increasing the number of streetlights and police officers.
Roberts’s vision also included closing downtown Broad Ripple to car traffic on Saturday nights (pedestrians only). The city has since tried it—although the change probably had more to do with the July shootings there than with Roberts’s suggestion. But ideas don’t always become actuality so quickly, folks, even if you are the elected mayor. If they did, I’m guessing the Indianapolis “Chinatown” Mayor Ballard proposed in 2008 would be dishing out dim sum by now. When I was editor of this magazine, I myself once decided it would be amusing to mark down the cover price to coincide with a lead story on bargains. The newsstand distributor did not agree, and neither did the United States Postal Service. That just proves you should never let power go to your head.
Given Roberts’s recent victory, I have made a decision that was a long time coming. I am going to run for mayor of Keystone at the Crossing. The chichi district on Indy’s north side could use a creative thinker, and who better than a dedicated shopper and recent retiree who has all kinds of free time? Mind you, since my disposable income has slipped to nearly zilch, I’m doing more looking than buying these days, which shouldn’t dissuade voters. I’ve spent so much time in the area the past 30 years, a colleague once jokingly suggested that I eventually be buried in the cemetery at 98th Street and Allisonville Road, close to Saks, in case there’s a sale. !

Chocolate yogurt ALL the time at Pinkberry. This is Indiana, not L.A.

Even if you live on another side of town, The Fashion Mall and its surrounding environs are worth a visit. There’s something magical about all the beautiful shops and colorful displays. Merchandise is hung as artfully as if the racks were a gallery, a bustle of gleeful shoppers fills the aisles, and, as one of them, you feel privileged, whether you purchase anything or merely absorb the glittery atmosphere. I once spotted John Mellencamp and Meg Ryan in front of the Lululemon store. Take that, Chicago!
Given my experience and obvious affinity for Keystone at the Crossing, no one is better qualified to be mayor than I. But every politician must also have a platform. Here is mine. I call for:
1. Another entrance. That way traffic won’t get all jammed on 82nd Street, causing a backup of Mercedes CLS 550s and Lexus LS 460s.
2. Chocolate yogurt ALL the time at Pinkberry. This is Indiana, not L.A., and most Hoosiers don’t go for Original Tart or Lychee.
3. A dry-cleaner with 30-minute service outside Benihana (self-explanatory).
4. Signs directing shoppers to the new location of M.G. Tates, my favorite gift store. Where else can you find such cute seasonal table settings, fab artwork, and fun furnishings?
5. A place to test-drive the cool $90,000 Tesla Model S performance car, which I hear has the power of a rocketship. A dedicated track outside the food court would suffice.
6. Mayoral privileges for yours truly, such as early admittance to the curtained-off areas at the Nordstrom anniversary sale. Want this season’s AGL ballet flats? Too late!
7. An indoor carousel. Wouldn’t that be adorable?
8. A shopper-friendly outlet for the Humane Society of Indianapolis. Because Northsiders have soft hearts, I’m betting a few doggies in the window would find nice homes.
9. Manis and pedis in The Fashion Mall. I know of a shoe store in Florida, Tootsies, that offers cute shoes and pedicures. New sandals PLUS new toes! Win-win.
10. A gourmet grocery. Awhile back, there was talk of a Whole Foods in the vicinity, but instead the chain took over the old Wild Oats in Nora. I don’t know about you, but I ain’t messin’ with prickly Ruth Hayes, longtime president of the Nora Community Council. If she stays on her side of Westfield Boulevard, I’ll stay on mine.
11. Apple Store employees trolling the mall looking for confused seniors who can’t find the emoticons on their iPhones. Now THAT would be customer service!
12. Police circling in helicopters. You wouldn’t think there’d be much crime in the area, as you don’t see many 50-year-old women with Talbots shopping bags trying to hold up the Chase Bank. But you would be wrong. I have friends whose daughter lives on the 10th floor of the Residences at Keystone Crossing, which is connected by an elevated walkway to the mall. One night, she was relaxing on the sofa with her cat when a bullet shot through her apartment window, whizzed across the room, and lodged in the wall. Seriously. Panicked, she ran into the hallway, where she came upon a young gentleman carrying a Subway bag. He helped calm her down, and, in a chick-flick twist, they wound up dating. The criminal (or very tall man with bad aim) is still at large.
You have to admit, these are worthwhile ideas. If, by some stroke of bad luck, there isn’t a groundswell of support for my candidacy, I’m going to run instead for mayor of Meridian-Kessler, where I grew up. The trees are more mature, the neighborhood is more diverse, and it’s closer to Graeter’s ice-cream parlor, which, in my experience, never runs out of chocolate.
Illustration by Andrea Eberbach