Articles

New strategies help some salons survive: Traditionalists say booth rental will remain the norm

Americans spend billions every year on professional primping and pampering, but independent salons still are among the riskiest of small-business ventures-with a failure rate second only to restaurants. Hoping to buck that trend, some salon owners are trying different business models, breaking away from traditional booth-space rentals and engaging stylists as employees with a stake in the shop’s success. Large chains like Great Clips broke the mold decades ago, paying employees an hourly wage to cut patrons’ hair. Now local…

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Minimum wage set to increase: Small-business owners bracing themselves for change

Jeff Coppinger just can’t support legislative efforts to raise the minimum wage. Part-time employees at his Lazy Daze Coffee House in Irvington start at $6 an hour and top out at about $8-well over the $5.15 hourly minimum. But he knows that won’t be good enough if a pending federal rate change passes. “In the past, I’ve always been a champion for raising the minimum wage,” said Coppinger, who opened his business in 2003. “But now that I’m in business,…

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Conner Prairie testing ideas for new exhibits: Officials consider virtual canoe ride, hearthside dinners in effort to keep museum’s attendance on upswing

The possibilities are intriguing: A tethered hot-air balloon ride. Old-time hearthside dinners prepared with farm-fresh ingredients. A wilderness-skill challenge that includes rock climbing and a virtual canoe ride. Leaders at Conner Prairie are weighing which-if any-of those ideas would be a good fit at the Hamilton County living history museum, which is focusing on its future even as it works to preserve the past. “The board is very committed to the idea that Conner Prairie must remain relevant and exciting…

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Wikipedia for art?: IMA leads $1M project to bring museums to the masses

The Indianapolis Museum of Art took over administration this month of a national effort to develop an online database that could make art more accessible to the masses. The two-year project, which got rolling last fall with $1 million in funding, revolves around a Web site that allows aficionados to look at images of artwork held by 10 museums and input descriptions in their own words. Museums then could use the free software for search engines where everyday people can…

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Canal could be home to new hotels or condos: Requirement for retail could jump-start slow effort

State and city officials have begun evaluating four groups that want to develop an acre of prime real estate along the Central Canal downtown. The property, which covers about a third of the block stretching from Ohio Street to New York Street, will feature canal-level retail-a requirement of all potential developments there. It also could be home to a hotel or condominium complex, based on plans from two local developers. Two other groups also are in the running for the…

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State springs for beefed-up tourism campaign: Early study shows “Restart your Engines” works

When the state kicks off its spring tourism ad campaign April 22, it will have a little more staying power thanks to a 38-percent surge in spending. The increase, made possible by cutting back in other areas, means a total of $550,000 will be spent on TV, radio and magazine ads targeted not only at neighbors in Chicago and Cincinnati but also Hoosiers from Evansville to South Bend. “We thought it was really important to put more money into that…

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Local international film fest growing by leaps and bounds: But still small potatoes compared with Heartland

The screen comes alive with the tale of a woman trying to track down her on-thelam husband even as she deals with her imprisoned brother and a grown son addicted to porn. The next night features a violence-packed trilogy of films about warring Asian gangs. Toto, we’re not at the Heartland Film Festival anymore. No, the 191 films set to be screened at the Indianapolis International Film Festival starting this month are grittier-helping it build a reputation for attracting a…

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City out to wow travel writers: Officials think large effort for small group will pay off by boosting coverage

When The New York Times ran an article about Indianapolis’ Stone Soup Inn several years ago, owner Jeneane Life got calls from people on airplanes looking to book a room. And the phone’s still ringing in the aftermath of a fall Chicago Tribune review of the new wellness program at Life’s Villa Inn. “People will say, ‘I kept that article because I’ve been meaning to come and stay with you,'” said Life, who also owns the Looking Glass Inn in…

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Sheraton replacing Radisson downtown: Experts say new brand should give hotel a boost

The downtown Radisson Hotel City Centre will get a new life by the end of this year, converting into the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel. Experts say the change is good for downtown and that hotel owners are trading up by switching to the Sheraton brand. “Clearly, that would be a step up for the hotel,” said Rob Hunden, president of Chicago-based Hunden Strategic Partners Inc., a firm that consults on hotels and convention facilities. “It is clearly better than…

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Airport expects art to make big impression: Array of visuals should grab attention of city visitors

Since the mid-1990s, cities have been trying to take advantage of a captive audience by incorporating major public art installations into airport expansion projects. Long before Indianapolis began forging an ambitious public arts plan for its midfield terminal project, airports in Miami, Denver and Washington, D.C., commissioned millions of dollars’ worth of statues, mosaics and fountains. Smaller airports, such as Austin-Bergstrom International in Texas, which is on par with Indianapolis in terms of passenger counts, also have latched onto the…

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SBDC network gets new chief

After about seven months without a leader, the Indiana Small Business Development Center network has found one in Jeff Heinzmann. An attorney by training, the 39-year-old is charged with getting the statewide system of 11 regional centers on track in their efforts to help entrepreneurs get started and grow. Despite their connection, the Indiana centers for the most part have operated independently, and some-like the central Indiana office serving Marion and the surrounding counties-have struggled for stability. Heinzmann aims to…

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New, stylish hotel brands are debuting here

Two new hotel brands coming to central Indiana will introduce a trend that’s hot nationwide—so-called “lifestyle” lodging offering an upscale feel at an affordable price. Hotels geared toward younger travelers account for 50,000 new rooms nationwide, said Rob Hunden, a hospitality consultant with Chicago-based Hunden Strategic Partners. That’s just 1 percent of the 4.5 million […]

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New, stylish hotel brands are debuting here: Hyatt Place, Hotel Indigo to open locally this year

Two new hotel brands coming to central Indiana will introduce a trend that’s hot nationwide-so-called “lifestyle” lodging offering an upscale feel at an affordable price. Hotels geared toward younger travelers account for 50,000 new rooms nationwide, said Rob Hunden, a hospitality consultant with Chicago-based Hunden Strategic Partners. That’s just 1 percent of the 4.5 million hotel rooms in the United States, but the numbers are growing fast. Locally, two area AmeriSuites hotels will be converted to Hyatt Places and InterContinental…

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Mansur lands $50M midfield airport hotel

The Indianapolis Airport Authority has tapped Mansur Real Estate Services Inc. to develop a $50 million-plus Westin hotel
at the new midfield terminal. But the hotel’s final design may be one submitted by a former competitor, White Lodging Corp.
of South Bend.

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Broker wants Lucas Oil to move HQ near airport

Marvin Miller is representing a landowner trying to sell 125 acres just north of Indianapolis International Airport. But Miller
wants him to give away some of the property to persuade California-based Lucas Oil to move its headquarters there, jump-starting
the stagnant area in the process.

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Snowstorm meant long hours, extra bucks for some: Plowing works as a side gig, but no one’s getting rich

When the snow started flying during central Indiana’s impressive winter storm this month, some residents bought bread and eggs and hunkered down to wait out the white stuff. Others tuned up their trucks and revved their snow blowers in hopes of seeing a lot of green. Many area city and town officials had private contractors on their speed dial-reinforcements who would help clear the foot of snow that fell in the Indianapolis area Feb. 13-14. The workers ranged from a…

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