Society of Salvage shifting to online-only retail model

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Society of Salvage, an industrial salvage shop at 1021 E. Michigan St., is closing soon, and owner Sandra Jarvis says she plans to relaunch the business as an online-only retailer within the next few months.

She said the business operates at around the break-even level, and by going to an online-only model she can cut her expenses.

“One of the main reasons I’m going online is to reach a bigger audience—and to reduce my overhead,” Jarvis told IBJ.

The business, which Jarvis opened in 2013, is located in the Holy Cross neighborhood on the city’s near east side. It specializes in items from abandoned offices and industrial sites—everything from desks and chairs to storage lockers, signs and wall maps. 

Society of Salvage customers are both local and from out of town, Jarvis said, and include homeowners, restaurateurs and office clients in search of unique furnishings and décor.

Up until this point, Jarvis has done most of her sales from her brick-and-mortar location, while also selling a selection of special items online via the websites Etsy and eBay. 

Going forward, Society of Salvage will do most of its sales from its website, The site exists as a placeholder whose home page identifies the business as “established, 2013; reborn, 2019.” But Jarvis said the site should be ready for e-commerce early next year. “I’m hoping no later than February.”

Jarvis is in the process of liquidating her inventory and looking for a new, smaller space to store her online inventory. She plans to remain on the near east side, though she hasn’t found a location.

The shop is currently in a 9,800-square-foot space, but Jarvis said she won’t need nearly that much as an online-only retailer. “I think I could probably get by with 2,500 square feet,” she said.

Without having a retail space to maintain, Jarvis said she will also have more time to spend on the labor-intensive work of acquiring merchandise. It’s a process that involves scouting for industrial auctions and vacated sites that might provide salvage opportunities, gaining permission to access the sites and striking deals to buy items.

“It’s definitely been a lot harder than, I think, a lot of people said,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis first got into architectural salvage while working as a commercial real estate broker. While showing vacant industrial sites to clients, she noticed all the items left behind by previous occupants and saw a business opportunity. 

Society of Salvage is currently selling its merchandise at 40 percent off. Jarvis said the store will close when it runs out of inventory—likely at the end of the month or shortly thereafter.

In other news of the week, we also have a few openings to note:

— A new Greek’s Pizzeria, Greek’s Downtown, opened late last month at 130 N. Delaware St. and another store, Greek’s on 16th, is days away from opening at 1601 Columbia Ave.

The stores have different franchisees. Greek’s Downtown’s owners are Mike Bandor, Rafael Domenech and Josh Trisler, who also own the Greek’s at 4901 N. College Ave.The downtown location, which occupies about 2,600 square feet on two floors, includes a second-floor taproom with 35 taps, Trisler told Property Lines. 

It takes the space formerly occupied by Happy Chicken, which was in that spot for five months before closing its doors around the first of this year.

The Greek’s on 16th franchisees are the husband/wife team Ryan and Rebecca Kitto. The 1,000-square-foot restaurant will have indoor seating for 38 and an outdoor patio with picnic-table seating for 60.

Ryan Kitto also owns Kitto Insurance, an Indianapolis agency that specializes in coverage for restaurants, bars, breweries and distilleries. Becoming a Greek’s franchisee, he said, has “given me a whole new perspective on what [insurance customers] go through.”

— A new local restaurant, Cumberland Grill, has opened in the space formerly occupied by a McDonalds in Washington Square Mall.

Menu items include burgers, tenderloins, wings, waffle fries and dessert items including fried Twinkies and funnel cakes. Delivery service will be available beginning next week. Owner Jennifer Hayes said she opened the restaurant to be part of revitalization efforts at Washington Square, and because she saw a need for more eateries in that part of town.

“While there’s food delivery services on the east side, there’s not a lot of food delivery options,” Hayes said. Hayes also owns the Oasis Café at 3500 Depauw Blvd, at The Pyramids office park on the city’s northwest side. 

Commissary Barber and Barista opened this week at 304 E. New York St. near Mass Ave.

Half of the 2,400-square-foot space is occupied by a barber shop, and the other half houses a coffee bar. IBJ first reported on plans for the establishment in June. Brandon Burdine teamed up with some silent partners to open Commissary. Burdine also owns Brick & Mortar Barber Shop at 126 N. Delaware St.

Johnson’s Coffee Shop is coming soon to The Shops at Perry Crossing in Plainfield, according to the retail development’s website. 


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