Speakeasy-style whiskey bar coming to Mass Ave

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A speakeasy-style establishment called The Exchange Whiskey Bar is set to open Aug. 5 in the historic Hammond Block building at 301 Massachusetts Ave.

It will be the second location for The Exchange, which opened in downtown South Bend in 2013.

The bar offers a large selection of whiskeys, and a menu of cocktails, spirits, wine, beer and a small selection of food items, such as charcuterie plates, deviled eggs and house-made chips and dips.

The Exchange’s owner and operator is Indianapolis-based Prime Hospitality Group, which operates seven franchised Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations in Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas, including two in Indianapolis—45 S. Illinois St. downtown and 2727 E. 86th St. Prime Hospitality also operates the South Bend location of The Exchange as well as a bistro/wine bar in Granger called Bin 23.

Prime bought The Exchange earlier this summer from from South Bend-based Navarre Hospitality Group.

On Mass Ave, The Exchange will occupy a total of 3,200 square feet on the ground floor and basement of the Hammond Block, an Italianate-style structure that was built in 1874 and has housed numerous tenants over the years, including retailer Budnick’s Trading Mart. Its 19th-century tenants ranged from a physician’s office to a saloon, a laundry, and the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons—a precursor to the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The whiskey bar will take over a space formerly occupied by the law firm Price Waicukauski Joven & Catlin LLC, which relocated to another part of the building.

Because of its historic character, “the building is perfect for the concept that we wanted to create,” said Kristy Rans, president of Prime Hospitality Group.

Rans said the Mass Ave location will have a “vintage speakeasy” feel similar to that of the South Bend location, which is housed in a former bank built in 1913.

Prime Hospitality Group was formed when Rans and her husband, Ryan, purchased the Ruth’s Chris franchisee three years ago.

The couple became connected with The Exchange through Ryan Rans’ other business, the South Bend-based real estate firm Great Lakes Capital. Great Lakes Capital renovated the South Bend building that The Exchange then moved into, Kristy Rans said.

In other news:

The Empty Vase, a floral, garden and gift shop at 1105 E. 52nd St., has closed permanently after a 10-year run. According to the store’s Facebook page, its last day of business was June 23.

— Birmingham, Alabama-based delivery service Shipt announced this week that it is now offering delivery of products from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in 30 Midwestern cities, including Indianapolis. Fresh Thyme has more than 70 stores across the Midwest, including seven in the Indianapolis area.

— And finally this week, we have news about two retail properties owned by Carmel-based developer Pedcor Cos.—Carmel City Center and the Indiana Design Center:

Carmel City Center will add three new businesses this summer. Forever Gallery, a custom tattoo studio and fine art gallery, will open in the Nash Building at 858 S. Rangeline Road. Lily & Sparrow, a women’s boutique currently in Fishers, will relocate to the Carmel City Center plaza at 724 S. Rangeline Road. And Kits & Kaboodle Classic Toys will have a grand reopening from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 17 at 723 Hanover Place. Kits & Kaboodle was formerly located elsewhere in Carmel, at 2442 E. 146th St.

A new showroom called Glass House Gallery will open in September on the first floor of the Indiana Design Center at 200 S. Rangeline Road in Carmel. The gallery will showcase products from two companies owned by Cori and Scott Brown: Franklin Window and Door and Lorenzo Finestre. Lorenzo Finestre, which sells European doors, windows and other products, opened a second-floor showroom at the Design Center last year. Now, that showroom is moving to a new space that will showcase products from both of the Browns’ businesses.

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