Articles

Health care: big problem for small business: Wyoming lawmaker’s proposed legislation could end 10-year Senate impasse on controversial solution

More than 45 million Americans lack health insurance. And more than half of them are employed or dependent on someone who works for a small business, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. It’s a big problem-especially in Indiana. Between 2000 and 2004, 5.6 percent of Hoosier workers lost employer-provided health care, according to the Economic Policy Institute. That’s a higher percentage than any state except Wisconsin. Legislation just introduced in Congress by Wyoming Sen. Michael Enzi, however, may…

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Food assembly hot: Franchises hope to capitalize on make-it, take-it meal trend

Put the pots and pans in the trash. Cooking at home belongs with the mastodons. At least that’s the premise of local franchisees rushing to get a stake in central Indiana’s burgeoning food-assembly business. Naysayers, however, worry the industry is growing too fast. The concept is simple: Nobody has time in today’s BlackBerry-toting society to go to the grocery store, let alone cook a decent meal. That’s where franchises like Dinner by Design, Dream Dinners and Super Suppers come in….

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Irwin Financial rebounds from loss: Impressive third quarter puts Columbus mortgage lender back on track

The signs were ominous. Profits had turned to losses. Key executives were leaving. Financial statements were being rewritten. In the middle of the turmoil, Columbus, Ind.-based Irwin Financial Corp. pulled an interesting rabbit out of its hat. After posting a second-quarter loss of $3.4 million, Irwin this month surprised Wall Street with an impressive thirdquarter profit of $18.5 million. The $6.5-billion-in-assets financial services company expects similar results this quarter. Company leaders are pointing to a somewhat straightforward fix. “The quarter-over-quarter…

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Indy’s Wright of passage?: Conrad’s renowned chef could beef up city’s culinary reputation

“It gives [Indianapolis] a big-league chef,” said John Mariani, food and travel correspondent for Esquire magazine, when asked about Wright’s arrival. “It’s about time a city like Indianapolis has a restaurant of this caliber.” Wright left the kitchen at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He and his wife, Delia, an executive with a restaurantproducts distributor, chose Indianapolis partly because she has business contacts here. Jonathan is accustomed to pleasing an eclectic range of diners. He…

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Ovation still standing: Electronics retailer faces tough decisions after Chapter 11

Best Buy now sells television sets that cost almost $10,000. Circuit City shoppers can pull a $400 DVD player off the shelves. Wal-Mart hawks “home-theaters-in-a-box.” Add it all up and it equates to a static-filled picture for Ovation Audio Video Specialists, the retailer of pricey electronic gizmos that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. “We’re starting to see a diluting effect” as box retailers sell more highend merchandise, said Andy Willcox, president of the Custom Electronic Design &…

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Liquor chain looks online for growth: 21st Amendment to launch e-commerce site

Jim James drinks scotch. Just don’t pour him a tumbler from the well at the local tavern. Reach for the bottle on the top shelf with the Blue Label. And make it neat. Connoisseurs don’t waste a good single-malt on a frozen tongue. James should know. The tall, broad-shouldered CEO of Indianapolis-based 21st Amendment Inc. has built an 18-store kingdom selling spirits to everyone from lint-pocketed college students to Riedel-toting executives. The company, which began with a lone location on…

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Groceries go global: Ethnic food stores surge in popularity, number

Salsa outsells ketchup. Tortillas fly off the shelves almost as fast as white bread. And if you’re looking for these new staples of the American diet, Indianapolis is increasingly a good place to find them. Sixteen years ago, there were three Latino grocery stores in Indianapolis, according to Manuel Gonzalez, president of the Indiana State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Today, there are more than 40. And that’s just the places that specialize in products like milpero tomatoes and serrano chilies….

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Startups offered a fast track: Motorsports-themed incubator gets green light in Brownsburg

Hendricks County officials hope a new business incubator there revs the engines of local entrepreneurs. The motorsports-themed facility, to be known as Fast-Start, got the green light after a year-long feasibility study concluded the project was a logical fit for a community that already houses Prudhomme Racing, John Force Racing and Bill Simpson’s Impact Racing. “It would help achieve some of our goals in Brownsburg,” said Jeanette Baker, town council president and treasurer of the Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership,…

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Marsh store on hold: Grocery chain halts plan for much-ballyhooed Atlas replacement

Farrar broke the news to residents this month after speaking with Arthur Marsh, the store’s namesake, who lives in the area. A source inside Marsh confirmed the project is on hold, but company officials declined repeated opportunities to elaborate. Marsh is pulling back from the project at a time it’s under increasing financial strain. In its most recent quarter, the Indianapolis-based company posted a profit of just $674,000 on revenue of $410 million. In an August statement, CEO Marsh Supermarkets…

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