It was a cold and rainy October morning, and my house was abuzz with final party preparations. The next day, we would be donning 50ʼs style clothing for a Mad Men-inspired house-warming extravaganza. As I cleaned the kitchen and straightened the furniture, I remembered one small detail: we didnʼt have enough glasses!
For anyone whoʼs seen Mad Men, you know the importance of a good tumbler. Afterall, something has to hold all that bourbon, even if only for the few minutes prior to consumption. So I grabbed a backpack, hopped on my bike and headed to my old faithful--Value World.
As a loyal Fountain Square resident, I am a champion of the wonders of Value World. Great used items and fair prices makes for a happy me. I found about 20 glass tumblers scattered randomly about the shelves. Each was anywhere from 20-50 cents apiece, so I spent less than $10 and rode proudly back with my finds.
Value World isnʼt the only place anymore where you can find hip, trendy items for the home. Since that day just over a year ago, Fountain Square has seen a blossoming of options for great home decor. While fairly well-known for having a great art scene with food options galore, the businesses listed below are quickly proving that there is, indeed, more than food in Fountain Square.
Rogue recently went in a store front on Virginia Ave, just across from Heartland Films and iMOCA. Owner Adam Graef took the unheated, abandoned space and completely redid the floor and walls. The effect: a store that feels more like home.
There are some items youʼd expect--nice photos in frames, a sweet coffee table, scarves for gift-giving. And then there are the unusual pieces--a rug made entirely of jeansʼ pockets or the lion head composed of red-sweater-knit and “mounted” on the wall. The store even features furniture Graef created himself out of repurposed items. My fav: a sofa table made with the legs of a vintage sewing machine table, drawers from an old cabinet and the top, made from a piece of hardwood flooring.
Rogue is a place I find myself going not just when I need a great gift or home item, but when I want to be in a place that inspires my creativity and, honestly, feels a bit like “home.”
Lillyʼs Soap Kitchen and Artisan Market
Ok, you got me. Lillyʼs isnʼt actually in Fountain Square; itʼs in Fletcher Place. No disrespect to our neighbors to the north, but I have to give a shout-out to this fantastic addition to the area.
Lillyʼs was started by owner Sara Clark and her mother. Clark, a transplant to Fountain Square from Florida, found herself tired of corporate America. She decided to quit and team with her mother, who was recently laid off. The creative duo started making soaps and selling them at markets. It was there, Clark says, that she really learned to appreciate local economy and the power of keeping your dollar in the “family,” so to speak. Eventually, Lillyʼs took up a more permanent residence in the old Virginia Ave State Bank building.
The store features the work of 25 local artisans, everything from pillows drafted from old feed sacks to clocks made from license plates. And the soaps, oh, the soaps (and body washes and skin care products for that matter)! They are vegan and contain no chemicals which means they are safe for small children and great for sensitive skin. After having a great conversation with Sara, I grabbed a couple bars to give as gifts to friends and was happily on my way, thankful to have found another treasure in our city.
Also, little secret: check in on your Yelp app and get a 10% discount!
Others to consider:
Although I donʼt frequent these stores, itʼs good to remember the trusty ʻold antique shop. Days Gone By and the Indianapolis Downtown Antique Mall can both be found on Virginia Ave.
So put your money where your mouth is, local Indy lovers! Whether you need a unique, original gift or are looking for a great piece for your home, look no further than this great corner of the city. Park the car (or bike!) and take a stroll. You may be surprised to find the perfect lamp (or wall-hanging or chair) that would fit just right in your favorite room.
photo from Kelley Jordan Photography