Roundup: Athleta, WB Pizza, Sabbatical, Blaze BBQ

November 27, 2012
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  • Athleta logoAthleta, the Gap-owned women's activewear retailer, plans to open its first Indiana location at the Fashion Mall at Keystone. The retailer has been chasing the fast-growing yoga specialist Lululemon, which opened a store at The Fashion Mall in July 2011. Athleta is taking about 4,000 square feet, presumably in a new bridge between the mall's west and east wings that replaced a dated food court with upscale shops. Athleta operates about 30 stores in the U.S., compared to more than 100 for Lululemon.
  • WB Pizza, a homegrown restaurant at 62nd Street and Allisonville Road, is adding a second location along 86th Street near Township Line Road. Owner Will Barnes is taking about 1,500 square feet and plans to open in January. Reported on @PropertyLines on Nov. 13: Follow.
  • Sabbatical, a homegrown small-plates restaurant from David Queisser, has taken over the former home of La Jolla on Broad Ripple Avenue. Menu offerings include quinoa polenta, seafood and chorizo torta, brie stuffed turkey meatballs, corned beef and kale slaw sliders, sweet potato truffle chips and Stella blue cheese dip. Tried it yet?
  • Blaze Modern BBQ, a new casual barbeque concept from Columbus, Ohio-based White Castle, plans to add the new concept to an existing White Castle restaurant along Emerson Avenue just south of Interstate 465 in Beech Grove. It's just the second location for Blaze, which "is lighting a fire under traditional BBQ" with pulled pork, beef brisket and pulled chicken that "won't hurt your budget." Blaze will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., while White Castle will remain open 24/7.
  • Earth Fare, the natural and organic grocery, has opened its store in the former Borders space in Hamilton Town Center. The chain is also building a store at 116th and Rangeline Road in Carmel in a center Kite Realty Group is revamping.
  • Cerulean, an "ingredient-driven" fine dining experience led by Indiana chef Caleb France, has opened at CityWay. Reported on @PropertyLines on Nov. 23.
  • Coal Pizza has closed after less than a year, continuing an unfortunate streak for the space at the northwest corner of Washington and Pennsylvania streets. Prior short-term tenants include Hue Dine and Taste of Tango.
  • Marketing
    I'd like to throw this out. I hate seeing that its "West Washington Streets'" fault as some of these places not lasting. I question the business practices of some of these places. I NEVER saw an external advertising of these restaurants outside of what is on Urban Spoon, Facebook, and their sign. Why? Why aren't all these new restaurants going crazy with marketing, ads, partnerships. That is the only way I can see smaller independent stores like this surviving in the downtown market that don't have brand identity and other competitors. I went to Coal Pizza twice, enjoyed the atmosphere, food,and smell and told many of my friends and they were like...what is Coal Pizza?? I think these restraunteurs are forgetting the major building block of a business....MARKETING. Thoughts on this?
    • WB Pizza is awesome
      When I worked for a local shopping center developer, we needed a pizza place in our Glendale center and wanted WB Pizza badly. We couldn't make it work. Their current shop is a "rough" hole in the wall, but the food is great and mostly made from scratch. Very glad to hear they are expanding.
    • WB Pizza
      Agree on WB Pizza, just had one last weekend. I just hope that WB does not spread himself too thin with the new location. Part of what makes WB Pizza work is having WB answer the phone and make your pizza himself. You know that you are getting a quality product each time.
    • Property Lines
      As an aspiring entrepreneur that loves to hear what is coming to Indy or expanding, I would love to hear about new ventures more frequently. Anyone know how to find out about these new ventures, or even how to get involved?
    • Marketing2
      Mike - I agree marketing is a central component of opening any business small or large. Too often its an afterthought and easily removed from most budgets to balance. The first few years are especially critical. Might they have invested everything in their prime real estate and hoped locale would do the work for them? They forgot Hoosiers lack a sense of adventure.
      • Why the Need to Disparage?
        Regarding the comment about Indianapolis residenets not being adventurous: Generalizations about people are usually incorrect and often convey a lack of respect. Personally, I don't like being "put in a box."
      • 3 Time Diner at Coal Pizza
        I agree. The location certainly isn't the problem. People need to frequent downtown establishments more and invest in Indianapolis. My husband and I went to Coal Pizza three times before it closed. We really need to hold on to the businesses that were established here during Superbowl. Keep the action downtown.
      • Location isn't the problem
        Coal Pizza (and Taste of Tango, and Hue) didn't survive not b/c that location won't support local establishments. Just look at the Libertine down the street, doing good business. Coal Pizza didn't survive because bad word of mouth spread. I deliberately avoided Coal Pizza because it got too many mediocre reviews on Urban Spoon, Yelp, etc. If you follow those sites, anything with less than 3.5 stars (Yelp) or below 75% favorable (Urban Spoon) tends to go out of business within a year or two. Such is the case with Coal Pizza. A well-run restaurant should do fine at that location.
        • Marketing
          Coal was weird. I never went in because it looked too fancy to provide a quick lunch and there's other pizza places that have a more established credibility around town.
        • Not good enough
          I went to Coal for lunch once, and while it was okay, it wasn't good enough to entice me back (I didn't vow never to return, but I just never made it back.) And, yeah, based on reviews, it had a lot of problems: the Nuvo review used terms like "disaster," "lack of flavor and poor execution," and "quantity means nothing if said ball of meat is mushy and under-seasoned."

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