A lawsuit, some store openings and some closings from around the city make up this week’s retail roundup. Let’s get to it:
—Downtown's Circle Centre mall, struggling amid a slew of tenant departures, is suing the operators of the beauty salon Brow Bar over claims that the retailer owes the mall more than $16,000 in unpaid rent and fees.
Circle Centre Mall LLC filed the lawsuit against Dublin, Ohio-based Remit Swift Inc. on March 6 in Marion County Superior Court.
In the suit, Circle Centre claims that Remit Swift signed a lease on Oct. 12, 2017, to lease a 979-square-foot space on the third floor of the south end of the mall.
According to court filings, Brow Bar paid only a portion of its monthly $3,750 rent in December, and did not pay any rent for following months. Including utilities and fees, the retailer owes the mall $16,400, the suit says.
Brow Bar’s mall space stood empty as of this week. IBJ was unsuccessful in attempts to reach both Remit Swift and Circle Centre’s attorney, Christopher Cassidy of the Indianapolis firm Cleveland Lehner Cassidy.
The Brow Bar case is just the latest instance of the mall taking legal action against a tenant. In December, it filed suit against the operator of the Nestle Toll House Cafe cookie and dessert shop for unpaid rent. And in January, it sued the operator of the Cinnabon store to recoup $13,054 in rent and related expenses.
The bigger question looming over Circle Centre is how it will replace massive anchor tenant Carson's, which is in the midst of closing its three-story store on the north end of the mall. Smaller departures in recent months include Godiva Chocolatier and Andrews Jewelers.
Moving to other news:
—New York City-based Untuckit, a menswear retailer that got its start online, is opening its first Indianapolis store this summer in the Fashion Mall at Keystone.
Untuckit specializes in men’s shirts that are designed to be worn untucked. The company has about 25 brick-and-mortar stores in cities including New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas and Los Angeles. The Indianapolis location will be the first in Indiana.
Fashion Mall at Keystone is owned and operated by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc., which already has Untuckit stores at five of its malls: one each in Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Simon CEO David Simon referenced Untuckit during a conference call with investors last fall. He named the retailer as one of more than a dozen companies that started out selling online only, but which had (or soon would) sign leases with Simon for physical retail shops.
—The womenswear shop Fira Boutique has ended its brief run in Broad Ripple.
The retailer, which opened for business at 918 Broad Ripple Ave. in November 2016, closed for good last week.
Fira’s original boutique is in Urbana, Illinois. An employee there told IBJ that the Broad Ripple store closed Feb. 27, and that all of that store’s merchandise was transferred to the Urbana shop.
—On the same block as Fira’s, another neighborhood newcomer—sandwich shop Erbert and Gerbert’s—also has closed its doors.
In a message posted Tuesday, the restaurant said, “It is with a heavy heart that we must close our doors and say goodbye to all of our loyal guests and fans.”
A second local Erbert and Gerbert’s, in Carmel, closed in February.
—Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers will officially open its newest location, at 5235 Noggle Way on the city’s south side, on March 13.
The site is near the northeast corner of the intersection of Emerson Avenue and County Line Road, just south of the Kroger grocery store.
This will be the fifth Indiana location for the Wichita, Kansas-based fast-casual chain. Other locations are in Westfield, Franklin, Columbus and Evansville.
And it will be the 300th restaurant overall for Freddy’s. The company says its 93-year-old namesake, company co-founder Freddy Simon, plans to be at the grand opening to meet “FredHeads.”
—Independent book shop Bookmamas, located at 9 Johnson Ave. in Irvington, is closing after nearly 11 years, according to its Facebook page. The shop sells new and used books and has served as a hub for the local publishing community, hosting readings, signings and discussions.
A liquidation sale is scheduled to begin on Friday.
—Finally: Want to see what a 500-pound wheel of cheddar cheese looks like? You can find out March 21 when Whole Foods officially opens its downtown Indianapolis store at 320 E. Market St. Doors open at 9 a.m.
The 40,000-square-foot store will include a taproom featuring 20 Hoosier-brewed beers; a coffee bar; more than 100 varieties of cheese; and a variety of grab-and-go options including a salad bar, hot bar, pizza, sushi and sandwiches.
And if the chance to gawk at a huge cheese wheel isn’t enough incentive, Whole Foods promises that the first 500 customers that day will receive “mystery value” gift cards. One person will receive a $500 gift card, with the others valued between $5 and $50.
This location will join four other Whole Foods stores around the state: one each in Nora, Carmel, South Bend and Schererville.