Mass Ave retailers about to pop up in Carmel

November 25, 2013
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A band of Mass Ave merrymakers are heading north for the holidays, opening a pop-up shop in downtown Carmel.

The Twelve Days of Mass Ave opens Friday at 110 W. Main St., offering a sampling of goodies from eight retailers looking to strengthen their suburban appeal. The store will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for four weeks.

“It is an introduction to what Mass Ave has to offer,” said Kristin Kohn, owner of the popular Silver in the City/At Home in the City boutique and leader of the Mass Ave Merchants Association. One of Indianapolis’ six cultural districts, the urban avenue is an arts and theater hub known for its dining, shopping and nightlife.

Its eclectic, homegrown businesses—Silver in the City, Crimson Tate Modern Quilter, Nurture Baby, Handmade Promenade, The Best Chocolate in Town, Global Gifts, Mass Ave Toys and People for Urban Progress—would seem a good fit for Carmel’s upstart Arts & Design District.

popup westfield sensu 15colThe Mass Ave retailers also will fill 1,000 square feet on Main Street vacated by Taste of Sensu. (IBJ Photo)

Kohn said her shop and most of the others already draw customers from Carmel and points north, but it never hurts to remind them they’re around. And she still meets suburbanites discovering Silver in the City (and Mass Ave) for the first time.

“Isn’t that great? After 13 years, there’s still this untapped market for our business,” she said. “That gives us the potential to grow our customer base.”

Twelve Days also fills 1,000 square feet of Main Street space left vacant when A Taste of Sensu restaurant closed this spring. Such turnover is inevitable given the volatile nature of retail, and Kohn said the pop-up shop is a creative solution.

The idea originated with Riley Area Development Corp. exec Eric Strickland, she said, and the community development organization worked out a short-term deal with building owner Keystone Realty Group.

Participating retailers contributed store fixtures, merchandise and staff, said Kay Feeney Caito, marketing manager for locally owned Mass Ave Toys.

“It’s a really neat adventure to do this with our fellow retailers on the avenue,” Kohn said. “We each have said there is no way we would do this on our own this time of year. … [But] it’s only 12 days. And we’re working on it together.”

Kohn said the collaborative “taste of” concept could work in reverse, too, if suburban enterprises wanted to test the waters on Mass Ave.

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  • Awesome Idea
    Super proud of all of you. This is a genius idea that could spark tons of future business. Keep up the great work! Happy Holidays.
  • Finally!
    Finally someone gets it - downtown Carmel will not succeed until there are proven shops, with proven quality merchandise with a legitimately "modern" (as in 2014) vibe. If Carmel A&D district wants to appeal to the yuppie/young family masses, stop putting in hoyty-toydy over-priced art galleries and "mom's" outdated, gaudy home decor. If its boutiques Carmel is looking to have, take a lesson from Silver in the City, Mass Ave Toys, local artists, and the others. Maybe hire their "brand" teams for a lesson in what modern really means and change the district's target audience all together. The expensive art galleries and "mom's home-goods" sure aren't staying in business. I hope they're very successful here and decide to make it their second and permanent home!!
  • Love This
    This is an awesome idea and I hope it is successful. I live close to the Carmel Arts & Design District and work within walking distance of Mass Ave and frequent these shops. Kudos to the organizers!
    • FREE RENT!
      Yes amazing idea that takes a lot of courage for retailers to venture north when they are offered free rent!!! City Center has a much better mix of stores than Main street, with both Addendum and Uber / Cloth relocating there after years on Main Street.
    • Carmel or Broad Ripple?
      I thought Uber and Addendum were originally located in Broad Ripple. Did they also have locations on Main St, or was Todd confused during his post-bar 3am rant? I think this a great chance for retailers a chance to try a new market. Good for you Mass Ave! Hope you make Carmel your second home!
      • HA!
        Addendum started out next to the butcher shop on Main Street and Uber started out as HAUS in the building on the SE corner of Rangeline & Main. I am all for more stores in Carmel! Just saying when Mass Ave merchants are offered free rent, where is the risk? It's a win win opportunity esp this time of year. Now if they stick around in January, then I will applaud their gumption.

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