Downtown spa closes after 30 years, citing pandemic, downtown riots

Circle Tower 450 px
Studio 2000 made its home on the second floor of Circle Tower for more than 30 years.

Longtime Monument Circle business Studio 2000 Salon & Day Spa—one of the largest day spas in the Indianapolis area—has closed its doors permanently after the owners found the pandemic-related business downturn and the deterioration of downtown became too much to overcome.

The establishment, located on the second floor of the 17-story Circle Tower at 55 Monument Circle, had its last day of operations Friday after more than 30 years in business.

“A mandatory government shutdown, a worldwide virus, a violent riot and an infested empty downtown have ended our dream,” the business said in an email sent Monday morning that is addressed to “Friends of Studio 2000.”

In that email, the business said its sales plunged by more than 50% while expenses remained at 100%. It cited multiple reasons for the closure, including the 77-day mandatory COVID-19 shutdown this spring and the general emptying-out of downtown that followed; the riots and looting that damaged many downtown businesses; and the increased number of loiterers on Monument Circle.

Linda Williams and Mel Brandenburg opened Studio 2000 in 1989 in a space that had been occupied by a barber shop since Circle Tower’s opening in 1929. They expanded the business in 2000, enlarging the salon and adding a spa while retaining the space’s award-winning historic Art Deco interior.

The spa grew into one of the five largest in the area in terms of employment, according to IBJ research.

Studio 2000 said it will be working to help its more than 20 staff members find new jobs and has engaged the law firm of Kroger, Gardis & Regas to help it wind down business operations and work with creditors and suppliers.

The owners said they were prepared to reopen after being shut down during the early stages of the pandemic. They received a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the Small Business Administration and were preparing to bring back employees on June 1. Then, on May 30, destructive riots broke out downtown.

“Rioters smashed store windows, looted goods and burned many of our fellow neighboring businesses, all live on television,” the owners said. “This damaged the psyche of the residents, workers and shoppers in downtown. Countless clients have told us they are afraid to come downtown. Our beautiful Monument Circle has become a haven for a group of drug users and mentally ill people who are aggressively pursuing our staff and customers, defecating on the sidewalks and the alley ways, openly dealing and using drugs while driving customers out of downtown.”

Williams and Brandenburg said government authorities, including the City-County Council, have done little to help downtown businesses recover.

“We all expressed our concern on all of the above issues that are ruining our chances to stay in business and asked for a plan to help downtown recover from this trauma,” the owners said. “Nothing materialized. The Mayor’s office, Indianapolis Downtown, Visit Indy and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful have taken too long to act. They have no plan to help retailers, except they are launching a $1 million advertising campaign to encourage people to visit downtown Indianapolis. Yet, the aforementioned problems will still greet them.”

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33 thoughts on “Downtown spa closes after 30 years, citing pandemic, downtown riots

    1. Your beautiful business has been murdered by government neglect & apathy.
      Grieving a lost business with its payroll, taxes withheld, and service base of
      clients is lost on the Hogsett administration, clouded by Canal Walk murders,
      and outshouted by the Indiana Avenue mural defacement.

  1. There’s no excuse for what happened to downtown Indy and even less excuse for the continuation of the rapid decline of a once great city. Wake up before it’s too late! No action speaks volumes.

  2. Yeah he will talk about it and probably issue some edict that will hurt the suffering businesses instead of the looters or vagrants.
    I know this guy just got reelected but surely there is some recall mechanism to remove him before his ineptitude has completely destroyed our beautiful downtown that took decades to restore and build faith in. He has to go…really…enough here

    1. nailed it. he literally has destroyed decades of progress in a couple of months of inaction and incompetence.

  3. The Mayor AND council at large can try to lay this at the feet of Covid-19 all they want, however, the truth of the matter is that downtown has been on a steep decline for over a decade. Add in the all of the hefty taxes from the CIB and what do you have….again……a deserted downtown that is little better than skid row.

  4. Oh Hogsett …

    You’ve screwed our city again!

    Only if you were man enough and Mayor enough to honor your oath of office and to the U.S. Constitution and stood up to Socialist Marxist Communist BLM’s domestic terrorism ….

  5. What I don’t get is so many people hate the mayor but when there was a chance to vote for someone else nobody voted. Indianapolis is more than downtown but only 24% of the population voted and he won 70% of it. So for all of the negative posters what happened? The Republican only received 40k votes

    1. Great point – if you don’t vote you get what you deserve. Low turnout was the story in many Indiana towns during the last election. People wake up the next day and wonder what happen?

    1. He didn’t respond to the riots and has offered no asisstance to the multitude of businesses that have been devastated by the riots. Remember it was the BLM that caused the riots not covid. He did patronize the BLM movement and gave them a street to write their Marxist name on while ignoring the local businesses that have been ruined! Of course the homeless issues are more the ACLU’s fault that Hogsetts.

    2. And the Democrat mayors in those cities are the ones to blame for letting the rioting continue night after night.

  6. Because he hasn’t done anything to prevent it.
    Bring in the National Guard. Protect our citizens and Buisness. Dose everyone want Indpls to return to 1981 when the sidewalks rolled up at 5pm…. I DONT!

  7. What happens after the pandemic? Indianapolis relies on conventions and sports events to drive significant revenue. If downtown isn’t safe then the city and state lose their largest revenue stream. Which can’t be allowed to happen if we expect to recover economically.

    Hogsett has refused to appoint a Public Safety Official to handle this. He has insisted that it’s part of his job.

    You’re failing Joe

  8. Yes, the mayor and city council have taken us back decades. He is more afraid of not conforming to the ACLU valley girls than the people that rebuilt Downtown.

  9. I’m trying to figure how how the BLM caused the issues downtown when most of the photos of property damage were caused not by people of color. I’m not saying people didn’t take advantage but saying a phrase caused the damage downtown is foolish. There were people of all races including clergy protesting peacefully. They didn’t Damage anything

    1. people of all races supported BLM’s agenda of “protesting”. None of the comments suggest black people themselves are responsible for the problem per se but rather BLM supporters. Also, for you to say that the protests were peaceful is absurd. Did you literally just wake up from a coma?!

    2. No they were peaceful. At night of the first weekend there were issues and then poof it stopped. They protested for an additional 3-4 weekends with no issues. The violence was started by outside groups. The locals peacefully protested.

  10. I voted for Hogsett and deeply regret it. He’s horrible, a career political, zero leadership skills. Much as it pains me to say it, we need a Republican mayor. HOGSETT: RESIGN already.

    1. We had a Republican Mayor, Greg Ballard, and he was awful He proposed raising taxes and fees more than 40 times. He did nothing but corporate welfare when he was in office. Ballard did not care ne white about working men and women.

    2. Paul O….at least Ballard didn’t let the city crumble to the ground physically and socially like Hogwart has managed to do!

    3. Indianapolis had years of Republican mayors, and the last good one was Hudnut. After him, you had that corrupt Republican clown Goldsmith who lined the pockets of his campaign supporters, dismantled city government, then tried to sell off the city, piece by piece.. Then, you had the Democratic real estate developer candyman Bart Peterson, followed by the Republican Greg Ballard, Mr. Corporate Welfare, who went around greasing-palms. He was a complete joke, and the joke was on the city for electing him.

      What Indianapolis needs is an effective Mayor who is not a corporate sell-out, as most of the recent mayors have been.

  11. NO, PaulO…city was in much better shape and was still quite aspirational and hopeful under Ballard. I’m a Democrat and didn’t vote for him, but Ballard was a strong Mayor. City a mess now. Hogsett said mayor was most difficult job he ever had, all but said it was beyond his capabilities. Wasn’t sure he wanted to run again. Would have voted for Merritt…but he’s more incompetent than Hogsett. On the second night of riots, hogsett told police to stand down and let the rioters “have their moment.”

  12. I am sad and mad about the closing of Studio 2000. It was a jewel on Monument Circle and the owners, Kevin and Linda Williams, ran such a stellar and ethical business. My daughter had worked there since January, before the pandemic and the destructive riots and looting. The mayor’s decision to “stand down” was irresponsible and has set downtown back decades.

  13. This is so sad. Unfortunately there will be many more closings coming. Hopefully many of them will be able to relocate outside of the city and continue their thriving business.

  14. As I posted several weeks ago, the deterioration of urban areas following violence and destruction of property has occurred almost without exception. Business don’t survive, reducing the vitality (and attractiveness) of the area. Would you take out of town visitors to a nice restaurant in the city where you might be walking past boarded up storefronts/windows? And let’s face it, people with money don’t really care to take risks with their lives and property, and they have the means to go elsewhere and spend their money. There were already challenges [read: the decline of Circle Center Mall]; Covid didn’t help, and then the violence and destruction has dealt a very real and serious blow to the city, unfortunately. The ironic part is most of the protesters are totally oblivious that they will be the ones who will suffer the most – the wealthier will just spend more time in the law and order suburbs…

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