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February/March 2009

Mayor Brainard’s Ambitious Plan for Carmel Plus… Entrepreneurship in Tough Times Westfield’s Downtown Plans The Times Square of Pioneer Hamilton County





Guest Column






Dining Out

Noblesville helps businesses renovate store fronts




How I Started...



Meyer Najem: Cultivating clients for life








Business Resource Directory

Carmel: New ideas in suburban development





On the cover, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard

February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

www.hamiltoncountybusiness.com Published six times per year by the Hamilton County Media Group PO Box 502, Noblesville, IN 46061 • 317-774-7747 Editor/Publisher Mike Corbett mcorbett@hamiltoncountybusiness.com Creative Director Contributors Melanie Malone Laina Molaski MBA PhD malinsky58@sbcglobal.net lmolaski@candsconsulting.biz Correspondents David Heighway Shari Held heighwayd@earthlink.net sharih@comcast.net Emmett Dulaney MBA Mike Magan eadulaney@anderson.edu mike@penpointonline.com Troy Renbarger Martha Yoder troy@consultwithprostar.com klmyoder@sbcglobal.net Scott Eckart Photo Credits seckart@westpointfinancialgroup.com Bobbie Sutton, Mike Corbett Kurt Meyer talktokurt@comcast.net Please send news items and photos to news@hamiltoncountybusiness.com Submission does not guarantee publication For advertising information contact Mike Corbett mcorbett@hamiltoncountybusiness.com

Copyright 2009 Hamilton County Media Group. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without written consent.

Corrections: In our December/January edition, the article

“Following the Flock” contained these errors: The name of Reverend Anastasios Gounaris was misspelled. The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church was previously located at 40th and Pennsylvania, not 49th and Central. Holy Trinity bought the land for its current church in 1998.

Martin Deafenbaugh, MD Orthopedic Surgery Specializing in Arthroscopy, Sports Medicine and General Orthopedics & Medical Director of

There is no u in Shelborne Rd. In the Hamilton County History column, the photo was courtesy of the Carmel Clay Historical Society. We are committed to accuracy and regret these mistakes.

3 Convenient Locations: 1160 S. Peru St., SR 19, Cicero, IN | Tipton Hospital, 1000 S. Main St., Tipton, IN | 514 E. SR 32, Westfield, IN

Call toll free: (877) 366-BONE (2663)

Hamilton County Business Discussion Group Learn more about this edition’s cover story with Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard

Wednesday February 18 ~ Doors open 6:30, Program 7:00 In the Model Mill Building, 802 Mulberry St, Corner of 8th and Mulberry, Noblesville No charge to attend. RSVP to: mcorbett@hamiltoncountybusiness.com or call 774-7747.

Learn….Share….Grow Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09 5

Letter from the Editor/February • March 2009 From the Editor: Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard has been in the news a lot lately over the financing of several high profile public projects. Those issues will continue to play out over the next few months and years. Regardless of where you stand on the financing, it’s clear there’s something special going on in Carmel, which has received national attention for its unique approach to suburban development. In this edition we give Mayor Brainard a chance to weigh in with his vision for the city. Love him or loath him (and there are many on both sides), he is a man with a big plan, and the most interesting businesses (and cities) are built by visionaries. I am delighted to introduce a guest columnist who always has an interesting take on life in Hamilton County. Kurt Meyer is a Noblesville Realtor who calls himself “the contrarian”. He wrote a column recently about Carmel and how it’s viewed by others within the county and the state. I thought it fit well with the Mayor’s interview, so we present it here as well. Noblesville has been busy sprucing up its downtown businesses through a public private partnership and we offer some before and after pictures that show the progress. Meyer Najem had a good year in 2008, culminating with its designation as the Fishers Chamber’s Business of the Year for the second year in a row… we offer a profile. And, we are launching a new feature called “How I started…”, giving the owners of some of our longest-running businesses an opportunity to share their stories. This month it’s Jim Godby, owner of Godby Home Furnishings. Finally, we’re giving you a chance to get a little more involved in Hamilton County business issues. As a supplement to this month’s cover story, we are offering the first meeting of the Hamilton County Business Discussion Group. We have invited Mayor Brainard to discuss his ideas at an open forum on February 18 at our office in Noblesville. See more details in the ad on page 5. It ought to be a good discussion. I hope to see you there. Mike Corbett Editor and Publisher


February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

Mike Corbett/Editor and Publisher

Carmel: The Suburb of the Future? By Mike Corbett Photos by Bobbie Sutton

“God knows we could use some romance in this sleepy bedroom town.” –Don Henley, “The Last Worthless Evening” (1989)


hat line, from a twenty year old song, could express the longings of millions of people in thousands of suburban communities across the country. It’s hard to find romance (in the sense of romance languages and architecture, as opposed to a relationship) in what has become a very familiar, predictable and uniform suburban landscape of strip malls and cul-de-sacs. But over the past decade, Carmel’s four term mayor and his supporters have

Future Corner of City Center Drive and Range Line Road

been challenging the traditional suburban mindset, adding a sense of romance to its buildings and public spaces in an effort to recapture a spirit that they believe we’ve lost since we all starting driving instead of walking. The rest of the nation is taking notice of Carmel, as its leaders build a unique community that may well set the example for future suburban design. Here are excerpts from a wide-ranging interview with Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard. The entire interview is transcribed online on our website: www.hamiltoncountybusiness.com. Hamilton County Business Magazine: How would you characterize the direction that you are taking Carmel?

Brainard: It’s important to look at cities in a historical context. Look at the cities that have been successful, not just over the last 20 years but the last thousands of years. They’re places where people, number one, want to live, work and raise their families. That hasn’t changed. They have to be places where people can get around easily and they have to be places that inspire people to write great literature, music, discover things. So, how does government work, then, with the private sector, to create a place that’s as nice as any place you’ve ever been? We don’t have oceans or seashores or mountains so we have to work extra hard…I joke, we have winter…so we have to work extra hard at this built environment. But, it’s more than just buildings, more than just parks, facilities

Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09


vards. They wanted to see power lines buried. They wanted to have cultural amenities available right here in CarHCBM: What leads you to believe that mel. They wanted to be able to go out the citizens of Carmel want the kind of for a dinner and show in Carmel and community that you are trying to build? not have to drive 45 minutes or an hour away. They wanted good schools, of course, and they wanted all these things Brainard: Traditionally in Carmel with low, steady tax rates. But, through people have said, “We want something better. We want low taxes, we want beau- growth and good management we’ve been able to do that. tiful streets, we want parks, we want a nice downtown, we don’t want sprawl.” I’m out in the community a lot. Starting HCBM: Over the years the term sprawl has earned a negative connotation yet we’ve been building sprawling suburbs for over 50 years now. If it’s so bad, why do we keep doing it? and cultural venues. It’s a feeling that this is a community, too.

and this was the low bid, to reconstruct that road was $5.2 million, plus we had to move the utilities, purchase the land, pay someone to do the engineered drawings to build the road, then maintain that road. Of course, this is a road with storm sewers, bike paths; this is a nice city street as opposed to the old county road we had there in the past. And when you’ve only got a couple dozen houses on each side of the road for that mile, Brainard: Well, change is hard. We keep you don’t have very many people paying for that road. On the other hand, if you doing it because it’s easy to do, because had a walkable community with more lenders are comfortable with it, develnarrow walks like we had before the autoopers are comfortable with it and the mobile because people had to be near the subsidies, the cost, doesn’t show up for center of town because most of the time many years. In many ways it’s a hidden they walked, you have many people sharcost. Public-private partnerships that encourage capital to be invested in cen- ing the cost of that road. So, in essence, ter cities, the subsidies are right up front cities across the country are bankrupting and are politically harder to accomplish. themselves by continuing to build sprawl. And, that doesn’t even count the utility costs (which) don’t show up in taxes but HCBM: Tell me more about that. What are the long-term costs of sprawl? show up in utility charges. So there’s less of our money that’s able to go toward things we’d like it go towards because of Brainard: First, it’s the cost of infrawith my first election and nomination the cost of that sprawl. structure as you move farther and to the Republican ticket in 1995 I went to about 7000 homes, knocked on doors, farther out in the country. Just the To take it one step farther, since we’re so construction of one mile of 131st St. and I heard the same things over and spread out the average household in the between Spring Mill and Ditch Roads, over from people who live in Carmel. HCBM: And, those things were that they wanted something special? Brainard: Yea, they want a downtown. They want a place that’s walkable. They want sidewalks and bike paths and parks. When I started we had 40 acres of parkland, today it’s close to 800. We didn’t have any parks, in essence. We had very few. They wanted streets with beautiful trees…a tree canopy over the streets. They wanted beautiful boule-


February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

want to be and to show the community that higher densities can be really nice. I think the Village of West Clay is a perfect example of it…. Carmel now has its neighborhood centers. We’re going to a corner store concept, bike paths, pedestrian paths, (and) planning these neighborhood stores but doing it in such a way that you don’t have a big, ugly parking lot. Maybe put the cars behind. Maybe do some housing or offices above it to give it density and do a little town square feel to it. Suddenly you have a place U.S., according to a recent study, is driv- plants, the electrical lines, already pretty that people want to be as opposed to a ing about 100 miles a day. I imagine in much in the middle of the city. At the big box parking lot. When the car came 1950, when car ownership in this coun- same time we have abandoned industrial along, our neighborhood stores became try was just about 25%, the average was brown fields that aren’t being used any ugly. Our strip centers became ugly probably a mile or two, if that. And, so more. So, let’s work up public-private places, where people didn’t want to be, we have all these cars on the road, your partnerships and redevelop that area. so people fought that commercialization average trip might be 10, 12, 8 miles as of neighborhoods. But, if we go back and set higher standards, and we’ve done I have a theory about why Americans are so it such a way that, hey, its nice to have that in the neighborhood, then people opposed to density…We don’t like density are back to making mile and a half or because it’s been done so badly in the past. two mile trips to the grocery store or the pharmacy or the cleaners as opposed to opposed to half a mile or a quarter mile I have a theory about why Americans 8 to 10 mile trips. because of the sprawl. Then, we use all are so opposed to density, which it’s this gasoline, we have these roads we important to remember is the opposite need, we have a balance of trade that’s of sprawl. But that’s often a bad word. not good for the U.S. because we’re imSprawl’s a bad word, too, but people porting so many petroleum products to don’t realize they’re really polar oprun all these cars on all these roads that posites. Why we don’t like density is go farther and farther out. because it’s been done so badly in the past. So, the key is to set really high HCBM: So, how do you regain the standards; to start out by redesigning, in system we used to have, or build a partnership with the private sector, our better one? central cities. Europe has gone the route of urban growth boundaries, which Brainard: I think we start by saying, forces capital back into the central parts first of all, we’ve got all this infrastrucof the city. Not many cities in the US ture we’ve invested in, we’re maintaining have done that…a few have, but just a and paying for in the middle of the city. handful. But, we’re looking at it in a difWe don’t really need any more police ferent way. Let’s try to do it voluntarily. in the middle of the city, we don’t need Let’s give some incentives to companies any more fire stations, we don’t really so that the economics are on a level need that many more roads. We may playing field with the greenfield develneed some improvements. We’ve got opment. Work with the city on really the sewer lines and the water treatment good design, to design places that people

Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09


HCBM: But, the economics of retailing encourage big stores, which lead back to sprawl. How do you encourage small corner stores and make them economically viable? Brainard: Government can’t make them economically viable but we have to make sure our planning and zoning creates places people want to be, and those places that are conducive to smaller stores, they’ll thrive in that area because they’re providing a service. Part of that service is proximity. Sure, if I want to buy a flat

screen TV, I’m going to go to the biggest discount store I can find, look at 1800 of them pick out which one I want. On the other hand, if I’m picking up dental floss or a gallon of milk, it would be nice to have a neighborhood store to do that. It’s very important for the everyday necessities to have stores and offices close by so that the average trip is cut down and that has to do with how our cities are planned. There’s a huge cost when you’ve got 20,000 people driving 15 miles to the big box store everyday. That’s not good planning and there’s a huge cost to those same people. Even though they’re getting a deal at the big box store they’re paying through the nose for those big highways and the sprawl that it takes to get there.

have more than anybody in the country. We built them because they’re safer, 80% reduction in injury accidents, a little less expensive to build and they have that rural flavor that people like in suburban areas…There is an environmental benefit where we’re saving an average of 24,000 gallons of gas according to our engineers per roundabout per year. Other ideas

like that? Well, we’re doing a teardrop roundabout configuration on Keystone, which is really the first type of separated grade intersection using roundabouts that are that tight in the US… We’re building one of the first suburban concert halls in the U.S. Our studies show that there is a great need for a true,

HCBM: You’ve been credited with bringing roundabouts to Carmel and the city has received national recognition for them. They were a big idea and created a big splash. Are there other big ideas like that in the works over the next few years? Brainard: That’s an interesting question. Our roundabouts, we do


February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

purpose-built music hall in this area. It’s a regional amenity and it’s going to be, really, the community’s living room in our downtown area. We’re building it to last for five centuries in a traditional design based on the Villa Rotunda, a

very famous house built in Italy in the 1530’s by Palladio, an Italian Renaissance architect. We’ve all heard of Palladian windows, he’s the guy that invented them. He built a house called the Villa Rotunda in Vicenza, Italy, and our concert hall is patterned after that building, built 500 years ago. We’re building this building to last 500 years as well, but it will be something that, when the London Philharmonic’s on tour, they’ll be able to stop in the Indianapolis region now instead of going to New York, Cleveland, Nashville, then skipping out to LA or San Francisco or Dallas. We’ll have a facility that’s one of the best in the world for music, and it’ll be wonderful for Carmel residents too, because the economic activity that’s being created will help maintain our low tax rate. HCBM: I know that private investment in the concert hall is coming up a little short… Brainard: Well, we’re not there yet. We’re still working and I think that as the building takes shape, we look at what other cities around the country are doing. We have a very sophisticat-

ed fundraising campaign underway and we’re still hopeful that we’ll receive contributions but the city took the lead. The good news is that the TIF (tax increment financing) district, the economic development district, which doesn’t impact any buildings assessed as residential but only impacts those buildings defined as commercial buildings under assessment laws, we’re 73% ahead of our projections. So, we were able to take that additional revenue, over and above our projection we made just four years ago, and apply that money to finishing the concert hall the way we wanted to so it’s truly a world class building. So, yes, we haven’t succeeded as quickly as we wanted to with the fundraising side of it but we have succeeded with the TIF district far in excess of what was projected, so without impacting our homeowners we can finish that building the way we want to.

in the older areas. If you’re old enough you remember this from the fifties and early sixties before a lot of those neighborhoods deteriorated with suburban sprawl, or you can look back at the old pictures. Indianapolis had this wonderful Interurban system that the city council in the fifties, in essence, it’s been

so they’re four to ten stories tall. It’s very human...it’s not skyscrapers but its not sprawl either, it’s in between. You look at the detail on the buildings. People are proud of these buildings. Craftsmen might work for two or three generations to create a church or government building, the wood and stonework on it. They’ve been restored and it shows how HCBM: You have referred several times people can live in very dense situations to European cities and imply that they that are very beautiful and livable and seem to have gotten it right when it fun, and so we have a lot to learn from comes to city design. European city design. Brainard: The Europeans have gotten We’re doing much better than we did it right in many ways. We got it right in documented, was bribed by the big three in the sixties and seventies and eighties this country prior to World War II. You automakers to take it out. Europe, on the today in our newer areas. We undergo to the old cities across Indiana, the other hand, through necessity as much stand the importance of shared greensold towns, the beautiful town squares as anything, has gotten it right because pace and open space. We understand that are walkable, got beautiful homes of their much greater the importance of walkability. Of all the population densities. billions of dollars that cities put into streets, for instance, they’ll spend one or It’s an interesting story, two percent more and make sure they we spend billions of have boulevards with trees, bury the dollars…billions, with power lines and make them beautiful. a B…as a society to go We’re spending billions of dollars on on vacation in Europe them anyway, let’s make them nice. It to visit these beautiful, doesn’t take that much more. All these walkable cities that were things work together to make our cities built three-, four-, five more livable and more attractive. But, hundred years ago. They Europe has gotten it right in many ways eat out in the sidewalk in terms of their cities. There are a lot cafes; they look up at the of people in this city that do travel, and beautiful architecture, they come back and, it almost begs the which was, for the most question, we’re spending all this money part, built before structo go to other countries and admire their tural steel was invented, cities on vacation, why can’t we build cities like that? v Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09


Guest column Carmel: Pretentious or Proud?

Kurt Meyer, The Hoosier Contrarian

Carmel has been in the news lately. And with like “working” and “going” become, workin’ all the acrimony, it’s worth wondering why and goin’, lest anyone mistakenly think you Hoosiers feel the way they do about Carmel. fancy yourself a refined, cultured, bigwig. At the recent news of apparent budget shenanigans involving Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard aimed at getting a high-dollar concert hall and a new Keystone Avenue built, people were poking fun and rolling their eyes at the mention of Carmel.

Literature from Indiana’s late Victorian era also makes fun of people who put their street address on letters and post cards, especially if they lived on a street of grand homes. They also made fun of the first folks to put in telephones.

trying to make it better than your town, and worse yet, they want you to know it’s better. But I think those who perceive those motivations have simply gotten lost along the fine line between pride and arrogance, and presume the latter, because, after all, they’re Hoosiers.

I continue to say, “perception” for a reason. While I might tease with my, “by-the-InI even caught myself making a snide comTrue, everyone, everywhere in the world will terstate” comment (for after all, I too am a ment. Family members were gathered at tell you they don’t like pretentious people, Hoosier), I admire a lot of what they’re doing Mitchell’s Fish Market in Carmel recently. but we Hoosiers have elevated our aversion in Carmel, including the concert hall and When making the plans, my brother in to pretension to the 11th Commandment: the new Keystone Avenue. And the fact that law from Cleveland joked, “We’re going to “Thou shalt not act superior to anyone.” they’ve got the tax base and willingness to Carmel (pronounced ‘Carm-L’)-by-the-Sea?” do it – well, good for them. referring to the elite seaside California town where Clint Eastwood once served as Mayor. I think most out-of-towners drive through Carmel and also admire the big projects. I replied, “No. Carmel-by-the-Interstate.” But they also think it’s a bit much, and that the town’s leaders seem to want it all a bit too Per capita, Carmel is Indiana’s wealthiest much. After all, the recent hoopla revolves community. So there are layers of meaning around the appearance that city leaders misin that humorous label for Carmel. There’s led the public about the costs of the concert the self-deprecation of Hoosiers, always You see it in the humor of Hoosier wise-ass, hall and road project just to get them built. ready to make fun of themselves before Dave Letterman. He’s built a career out of someone else does. But there’s something knocking self-important people down a peg We don’t have to endorse dishonest leaderelse there that goes beyond the delight or two. Note the occasional Letterman show ship, but let’s give Carmel the benefit of the of knocking the richest guy on the block boycotts by the ego-laden Cher and Madon- doubt for their dynamic community and its down a peg. I suppose it’s a reaction na, both miffed at not being worshipped by big projects. Its leaders are optimistic. People against pretension. Dave. And being true to his nature, the jokes who act with hope and aggressive optimism are often on Letterman himself. To prove are often successful, and once successful, Hoosiers hate pretension. how regular he is, his regular ol’ mom is a their continued aggressive optimism can regular guest. Ironically, for this discussion come off as pretension. It goes way back. In the early 20th Century, anyway, Dave’s mom lives in Carmel (by-thethen famed Hoosier author, Meredith Nich- Interstate). Maybe it’s time we Hoosiers just get over it, olson was asked by an east-coast magazine because that aversion to pretension holds to write a piece explaining what, exactly, a I think the negative side of Carmel’s image back a lot of Indiana towns and keeps Hoosier was. He alluded to this guarding comes down to that perception of pretenthem from being as dynamic as a town against pretension. sion. It’s not just a resentment or envy of like Carmel. the wealthy – though I’m sure that plays a He said that Hoosiers of that era purposefully big part as well. It’s the perception that Kurt Meyer is a Realtor and author who lives left the “g” off words ending in “ing.” Words in Noblesville. To receive his weekly e-column Carmel’s leaders aren’t just trying to make or to contact him: talktokurt@comcast.net the best city they can make, they’re also


February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

Entrepreneur Emmett Dulaney

Entrepreneurship in Tough Times Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” Nowhere is that more of an anthem than in a recent report from the Kauffman Foundation: Entrepreneurs and Recessions: Do Downturns Matter? In this report, a preliminary study was done of over 8,000 companies founded between 1831 and 2006, and a proposition put forth that companies founded in recessionary periods have a “higher likelihood of turning out to be economically important.” Southwest Airlines and Microsoft, they attest, are among those that were founded in recessions (going one better, Krispy Kreme was founded during the Great Depression).

Second, there are fewer new businesses that will be started and fewer proposals out there to choose from. When times get tough, many would-be entrepreneurs decide to keep the job they currently have and wait the recession out. With fewer entrepreneurs fighting for attention and fewer new businesses competing for both customers and investors, those that do enter the market have the ability to be more visible.

Third, some companies flourish during downturns. Many years ago, I had the opportunity to speak with a man who started a successful advertising company during the Great Depression. My first question was “why?” His answer was that when times are good, companies should advertise, but when times are bad companies Moving away from the study and lookmust advertise. A plethora of products and ing at the downturn from a pragmatic services become necesviewpoint, it is possities - or at least more sible to see how these attractive choices - when conditions can work in the budget tightens and if the entrepreneur’s favor you have a product that for three important reafalls into that category, sons. First, investors are then this becomes the struggling to keep their opportune time to start. It portfolios above water is worth noting something and trying to find some about the three companies way to earn a respectmentioned earlier as it able return. If you have applies here: Southwest a solid proposal that Airlines offered a low-cost promises a safer return alternative to air travel, Microsoft offered on investment than the going alternatives, a standard product cheaper than proprithen you will find an audience if you look etary solutions prevalent at the time, and hard enough. The key is that your proposal Krispy Kreme first began selling only to should be able to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that it will satisfy an un- grocery stores and beating what they could produce themselves. met market demand and earn an acceptable profit. With adequate funding to draw upon being one of the most important fac- There are four parts to the business cycle tors in the success of any new venture, this and while a recession may be the least desirable of all for many, it still holds opis a good time to shop a strong venture portunity for entrepreneurs. Ah, but what among investors. a shame it would be to end up as the next Bill Gates... Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09


Management Communication: What Did You Say? Laina Molaski With most relationships, communication is the key to understanding what the other person wants and/or needs. Poor communication can be just as detrimental in a business relationship as it is in a personal relationship.

People in organizations typically spend more than 75% of their time in an interpersonal situation; thus it is no surprise to find poor communication at the root of a large number of organizational problems. You may think of this as being an issue in a larger organization where there are many managers and many employees and therefore many different ways to get communication wrong, but that is not the case. Poor communication can happen in all sizes and types of businesses. Business owners tend to have a habit of keeping things in their head and when that information is communicated there may be many things left unsaid, either intentionally, because the business owner assumes the other person already knows it, or unintentionally. To empower your employees to do the job you want them to do, good communication is key. There is no one perfect way to communicate with your team but there are a few factors that contribute to your effectiveness as a communicator. ➢ How do you most effectively communicate? ➢ How does your team like to be communicated to? ➢ What does you company culture require? You also need to take in to consideration that there are so many different ways to communicate these days such as: ➢ Email ➢ Voicemail ➢ Texting ➢ Memos ➢ Bulletin boards ….and last but not least, regular, old fashioned face to face communication. This is the method that seems to be used the least these days. However studies have shown that employees prefer face to face communication, especially when it is about important topics. Build on your strengths in regards to your communication style. How do you best get your point across? In what way are you most comfortable communicating? Then ask your team how they would like to hear from you. If it’s the same, great. If not, then you can use that information to decide what the best communication strategy is for you and your business.

Laina Molaski is the president of C&S Consulting LLC in Fishers


February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

Management Troy Renbarger

You’ve had one month to live up to your New Years resolutions. How are you doing? Common resolutions include giving up junk food, exercising regularly and making more money in the coming year. However, we seldom take action and create a plan of how to achieve these goals that we want so badly. Instead, we share our good intentions with friends and colleagues, hoping we’re disciplined enough to figure out how to make the goals a reality. In business we do the exact same thing. As business owners and managers we want increased revenue, with decreased expenses, all while making better decisions that strengthen the business. Often times the best of intentions are forgotten when the day-to-day tasks of operating a business distract us.

Discipline is Key to Building a Budget for 2009 decrease your bank fees from the prior year. Revenue and Cost of Goods Sold (Variable Costs) work in conjunction with each other. If sales increase so does the input that it takes to get those sales. Prior year numbers can determine a percentage of cost of goods sold to sales. This ratio can help you determine the variable costs in the budget that correspond with increased sales. Sales expectations should be set by a percentage of growth per month. Look at the current market, economic and client base for your business and determine a realistic sales goal. Then show a constant and steady growth pattern that

the business can achieve with increased sales and maintained operating levels. It is easy to get caught up in the logistics of the business and all the moving parts of the budget, but remember that a budget is just your expectation. There is no right answer when it comes to a budget; it is just a guide that helps you make decisions throughout the course of the year. Although we’re already well into the new year, take the time now to create a budget that sets the expectations for achieving measurable growth in 2009. Troy Renbarger is the founder of ProStar Consulting Inc. in Cicero

So how do we find the discipline to set and follow our plans for 2009? Proper accounting may not solve every business problem or address every goal, but it is an intricate part of achieving a measurable 2009. Building a 2009 budget will help you guide business decisions and operate with more intent and purpose. It is also a practical way to track your expectations for the year. Budgets in their simplest form look like an Income Statement with the three sections of Revenue, Cost of Goods Sold (Variable Costs) and Fixed Costs. By simply looking at your fixed costs from 2008, we can assume that they will stay relatively the same in 2009. If you plan on increasing your marketing for the year we would increase this section, while knowing that other areas might need to decrease. For example, you can plan to focus more on accounting, which can

Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09


Noblesville Puts Its Best Façade Forward


By Martha Yoder

ou may have noticed some aesthetically pleasing improvements underway in downtown Noblesville. In an effort to revitalize the downtown and capture the original architectural appreciation of the buildings, the City of Noblesville’s Façade Improvement Grant Program is helping local business owners spruce up their building façades. The investment will help stimulate downtown investment to maintain and preserve the economic contribution of the Central Business District (CBD). According to Kevin Kelly, director of the City of Noblesville’s Economic Development Department, the Façade Improvement Grant is a 50/50 matching program for building and business owners that maintain commercial activity as their primary purpose. Businesses within a certain boundary area are eligible to apply for assistance. “The grant provides a 50 percent reimbursement of total approved project costs. The grant can be up to a maximum of $25,000 per building, with no more than $50,000 in total project costs,” Kelly explained.

applicants during the grant application process. All completed applications are reviewed by a five-member Façade Grant Review Committee before being approved for funding. The committee, appointed by Mayor John Ditslear, is composed of a variety of people such as engineers, architects and professional developers. “Once an applicant applies, we will meet with them to discuss their ideas for improvements and make sure all of their plans are feasible,” explained Christy Myers, assistant director of Economic Development. “After the project and design are approved, the request is taken to the Board of Works for final evaluation and funding.” The Façade Improvement Grant Program was developed by Ball State University as part of downtown Noblesville’s strategic action plan. By suggesting specific guidelines, Ball State helped the City of Noblesville realize its goal of updating the downtown by approving funding of the grant program.

The program is administered by the City’s Department of Economic Development. Staff members work directly with

To date, $192,000 of the Façade Improvement Grant Program money has been awarded to local businesses to help preserve, rehabilitate and restore their buildings to their original condition.

694 Logan before

694 Logan after


February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

Classic Kitchen before

“Many business owners are putting much more into the buildings than we were able to match. We hope this program will spread like wildfire,” said Joe Arrowood, executive director of Noblesville Main Street who serves on the Review Board and believes this program will revitalize downtown. The Façade Improvement Grant Program has given businesses incentives to do more work than they might have planned, Myers explains. For instance, Matteo’s Ristorante Italiano has received two grants from the program. Owner Emily DiRosa is making major renovations to a newly acquired building.

Originals Art Gallery before

Classic Kitchen after

“We have received $50,000 for updating all the windows and painting the trim a burgundy color. We want to bring the building back to its original luster. The matching funds allowed us to do much more than we originally planned,” said DiRosa. The restaurant is also planning to add French windows that will allow for an open-air dining experience. Future plans include repainting the entire building. “Everyone is putting their own touches to the effort, such as adding new paint colors and updates to return the buildings

Originals Art Gallery after Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09


to their original conditions. We are trying to capitalize on our own unique history as a community,” said Myers. The funding goal for the Façade Grant Improvement program was met for 2008. Some grant money remains available for 2009. The deadline for application is the last Friday of each month. “We invite business owners to come talk to us about participating in the program,” says Kelly. To apply for the Façade Improvement Grant Program, e-mail cmyers@noblesville.in.us or call (317) 776-6345. These businesses have been awarded Façade Improvement grants: +Cook & Cook +Dominic’s +Heavenly Sweets +The Hamilton/Noblesville Tae Kwon Do +HMC Printing +Howard Law Offices +Matteo’s Ristorante Italiano +Noblesville Antique Mall +On-Ramp Indiana +Originals Art Gallery +The Wild

Post your comments at www.hamiltoncountybusiness.com


February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

Making an Impression in Westfield

Dining Out By Mike Magan

Photos by Bobbie Sutton

mind set when a more formal atmosphere is needed,” Domina said.

native Hoosier. A graduate of Horst Mager Culinary School of Portland, Ore., Domina returned to Indiana and settled in Westfield where she opened a small catering business. She later opened a lunch and brunch spot in 2004. With the dinner service, Domina describes her name sake as “upscale bistro cuisine.”

Keltie Domina

It’s not every day your server presents a patron with an intricately folded napkin deliberately placed in a wine glass, but that was just the first of many pleasant surprises upon dining at Keltie’s in downtown Westfield. It turns out the restaurant is the flagship of a successful institution. And success has come not just because of a classy feel or unique menu, but because owner Keltie Domina built a legacy instead of an eating establishment. Keltie’s Restaurant & Catering, LLC is owned and operated by Domina, a

Local restaurant goers and critics alike applauded her efforts as Kelties was named “Best New Restaurant 2005”, “Top 25 Critics Choice 2006”, “Top 14 Caterers 2006”, and “Best Brunch 2007” by Indianapolis Monthly. As the restaurant racked up accolades, the catering business continued to expand. Despite the economic downturn that has been especially painful to the luxury products and hospitality industries, Domina announced Kelties’ management of the food service at Woodland Golf Club last September. But the third jewel in the Keltie’s crown is perhaps the most unique: etiquette training. Cantankerous boy scouts and buttoned-up business executives alike have taken directions from Domina on how to politely and appropriately treat others in different situations. Domina said the common thread is respect. And she expects the demand, or should we say, request, for a kind of manners menu to continue to grow as well. “In these days of casual attire and dressdown days, people tend to stay in a casual

“Oftentimes these are also important meetings or a time when you want to make an impression, so being polite may not just be expected but crucial to the success of the venture.” Her soughtafter advice at chamber meetings and school lunchrooms goes beyond fork-on-the-left-knifeon-the-right memorization. “Shaking hands firmly, looking people in the eye, remembering a birthday, asking about a family member, these are all ways we like to be treated,” Domina explained. “We need to be sure to treat business prospects or party guests the same way.” A dining experience at Kelties is memorable; after all, who doesn’t enjoy being greeted warmly by your server and then warmly again by a basket of warm rolls? Such treatment is at the core of Keltie’s personal and professional outlook. “Our overall objective is to reach each guest one by one and to treat them like they are in our home,” Domina said. “Whether dining, attending a class, or celebrating, we want our guests to feel important.” Kelties serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday and Sunday brunch from 10:00am - 2:00pm.

Keltie’s ~ 110 S. Union St., Westfield


Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09


Profile Meyer Najem is building a reputation as a model corporate citizen by Shari Held employees to be present throughout the community, so you’ll find Meyer Najem’s team serving in roles from community events to education and economic development to philanthropic causes.” Today the company, which became a management-owned firm in 2000, is led by Chairman Karl Meyer, CEO Anthony Najem, President Tim Russell and Sam Mishelow. All are actively involved in outreach and business development.

Clients for life Front Row: L to R - Tim Russell, President, Sam Mishelow, EVP, Business Development. Back Row: L to R - Karl Meyer, Chairman of the Board, Anthony Najem, CEO

In 2008 Meyer Najem won the Pillar Award for business of the year from the Fishers Chamber of Commerce. It was the second consecutive year the construction company received the award, which honors companies with more than 25 employees who provide superior customer satisfaction, exhibit community spirit and have a positive economic impact on the community. No one who knows the company should be surprised. From its conception in 1987, founders Karl Meyer and Anthony Najem intended to create a different kind of business. “It all began with an effort to provide a different model of delivering construction services to the marketplace,” said Sam Mishelow, executive vice president for Meyer Najem. “It was a much more refined and holistic view.” The Fishers-based company was based on three commitments—a commitment to client satisfaction, employee satisfaction and to the community it


serves. “These are the three initiatives that drive us internally,” Mishelow said. “This is how we measure ourselves.” Outstanding employee retention has long been a trademark for the company, which has approximately 70 employees. “Meyer Najem attributes their success to the dedication of the employees,” said Christi Wolf, President of Fishers Chamber of Commerce. “They strive for an environment that allows all employees to achieve both personal and professional satisfaction. The company is a cheerleader for our community and strives to serve as an example of a model corporate citizen. They empower their

February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

One of the company’s key initiatives is to exceed the expectations of its clients. “We call it clients for life,” Mishelow said. “We carefully monitor client satisfaction during the construction process and we assign a project executive to every client.” Project executives nurture client relationships well after the projects are complete, playing an important role in client retention: Between 75 and 80 percent of Meyer Najem’s business comes from existing clients.

Riverview Hospital Women’s Pavilion

“Meyer Najem has been a long-standing business partner with Riverview,” said Pat Fox, CEO of Riverview Hospital. “They are a delight to work with and are a professional group of folks focused on the quality of the project. They’ve been a great business partner to coordinate and carry out our vision.” One major milestone for the company occurred in 1991 when it landed the $50M Methodist Hospital Beltways project, marking its entrance into the health-care arena. More recently Meyer Najem built the Riverview Hospital Women’s Pavilion and the hospital’s new Emergency Department. Today health care and senior living are the company’s primary focus, followed closely by the government/institutional market. “We couldn’t have asked for a better construction management company than Meyer Najem for the City Hall expansion and renovation project,” said Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear. “They’ve done excellent work not only for us but also throughout the Noblesville community.”

Emphasizing safety

Safety is another important focus for Meyer Najem. In 2003 the firm received its initial Metro Indianapolis Coalition for Construction Safety (MICCS) Certification, joining a few select firms in Central Indiana who

Noblesville City Hall

have achieved the designation. In 2006, the company was named a Certified Partner with IOSHA and the Indiana Department of Labor. “This recognition places Meyer Najem in an elite group of contractors and construction managers,” Mishelow said.

Caring for community

Another area where Meyer Najem really shines is in philanthropy and community outreach. The company specifically seeks to assist not-forprofits in Hamilton County, such as Prevail, Habitat for Humanity, Janus Developmental Services and Fishers YMCA. This year the company raised $22,000 for Prevail in one of its fund-raisers. In 2005 Meyer Najem was named “Philanthropist of the Year” by the Indiana Association of Fundraising Professionals.

“We are going to continue doing our best to make a difference in the community,” said Ashley Dyer, chair of the company’s philanthropy committee. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone.” The company encourages employees to volunteer in events that assist the community and its principles lead by example. “The principles spend a lot of effort nurturing the young leaders in our firm to become good corporate citizens,” Mishelow said. “It is very important to them that they carry a Meyer Najem message of generosity and giving back to the community. v

Meyer Najem’s Recent Hamilton County Projects Completed:

Noblesville City Hall Noblesville Library Riverview Hospital Women’s Pavilion Riverview Hospital Emergency Department Perkins Distribution Center (Noblesville Corporate Park) Fishers Public Library Promise Road Corporate Park

Planned /Under Construction:

Westfield Monon Trail Elementary School Westfield High School Noblesville #7 Fire Station M&I Bank (Noblesville) Fishers Town Hall Hamilton County Community Corrections Building Fishers Public Library

Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09



Westfield unveils Downtown Redevelopment Plan

Fishers announces $100 million office park near I-69 and 96th Street

Concourse at Crosspoint

Westfield’s Grand Junction Task Group revealed its vision for downtown at the Westfield Chamber’s December luncheon. Working with the Hitchcock Design Group, the task group created an implementation strategy that includes as a centerpiece the Grand Junction Plaza. Key elements include: • Establishing a sustainable urban district for retail, civic, entertainment and residential uses • Celebrating the junction of the Midland Trace and Monon Trails • Integrating natural systems into the urban environment. • Leveraging a signature gateway development at the intersection of US 31 and Main Street (SR 32) • Developing an urban park, the Grand Junction Plaza • Establishing a civic center with a Downtown Library and City Hall • Improving the street network “The Task Group’s objectives included establishing the Grand Junction brand, showcasing the natural environment, creating a comfortable Downtown core with a mix of engaging destinations while providing exceptional user hospitality, and most importantly preparing a plan that is based on market forces and maintaining long-


term financial stability as our compass,” says Jim Anderson, the group’s co-chair. The basic concept, says Anderson, is that each investment in public infrastructure will yield 10 times the private investment. Cultural and environmental sustainability are also key elements of the plan.

Edgeworth Laskey Properties LLC will build a $100 million office park on 26 acres West of I-69 between 96th and 106th Streets in Fishers. Concourse at Crosspoint will feature four-, five- and six-story brickand-stone buildings, providing office space with amenities such as stone floors, wood ceilings, dramatic lobbies, spacious offices with natural light, plenty of parking and easy access to major thoroughfares. Indianapolis-based Edgeworth Laskey has owned the land for nearly a decade, but only recently decided to move forward. Construction is set to begin immediately and the office park could open in late 2009. USA Funds has committed to leasing an entire floor in one of the buildings.

Sheridan celebrates Lincoln’s legacy in lecture series

Rendering looking southwest from Main & Union

The group tackled the challenging issue of what SR 32 should look like as it passes through downtown, recommending four 11-foot driving lanes (two of which would be parking/driving lanes) and 18-foot sidewalks. This configuration would allow a majority of existing buildings to remain, creating more affordable leasable space, and allowing the Downtown to grow incrementally, according to the report. Anderson says the group has completed two phases: opportunity analysis and alternative strategies, and is now moving to the final phase, which is the master plan.

February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

Abraham Lincoln’s life and leadership is the focus of the 2009 Boxley Lecture Series in Sheridan, coinciding with the nationwide bicentennial celebrating his birth. The admission-free program will introduce Fritz Klein, a leading Lincoln interpreter on Thurs., Feb. 19. The movie “Gore Vidal’s Lincoln,” kicked off the expanded program of Lincolnthemed activity in January. The Historical Society and Library are collaborating with the Indiana Historical Society to provide two special consecutive historical exhibits at the library in February and March. “The Faces of Lincoln” appears Sat., Jan. 31 through Feb. 26. A second exhibit, ‘Freedom: The History

News of US,’ opens Sat., Feb. 28 and will close Mar. 31. Both exhibits are free. This is the second year for the Boxley Lecture Series, a collaborative of the Sheridan Community Schools, Sheridan Public Library and Sheridan Historical Society.

Bob Fearrin began his insurance career while still a student at Butler University, forming his own independent insurance agency in Carmel in November of 1958. Fearrin Insurance Agency’s first office was at 37 West Main Street and today is located at 110 N. Range Line Road. Bob was one of the original founders of the Carmel Chamber and served as board chair in the 1970s. He served as president of the Jaycees and remains a member of the Carmel Lions Club, where he has also served as president. In 1987, Bob was named the Carmel Chamber’s Small Businessman of the Year. Fearrin Insurance has grown considerably over the past 50 years, acquiring 12 other agencies. Bob still works three days a week.

George Boxley, a pioneer who settled in the Sheridan wilderness, was the first white settler in Adams Township. He was known for his caustic abolitionist views long before the American Civil War and was accused of instigating a rebellion in early 1816. He built a frontier farm in what was to become Sheridan, where he also served as a schoolteacher and encouraged new settlers.

Harold Kaiser obtained his real estate license in 1955 and started Kaiser Real Estate in 1958, when the population of Carmel was less than 1500 people. Harold purchased the building at 30 E. Main Street in 1970 and remained there for 25 years, opening a branch office in Westfield as well. In 1982 Harold “semi-retired” and son Craig Kaiser took over the business as President and CEO.

Two Carmel businessmen honored for a half century of service

Harold was a founder of the Carmel chamber, serving on both of the two original organizing groups and as board chair. In 1972 Harold Kaiser was named “Realtor of the Year” by the Hamilton County Board of Realtors. Kaiser Real Estate is the oldest family-owned real estate business in the Carmel area.

Harold Kaiser (left) and Bob Fearrin

Bob Fearrin and Harold Kaiser were honored for their longevity in the business community at the Carmel Chamber’s December luncheon. Both have been in business for 50 years.

Subsequently, Craig became affiliated with the Coldwell Banker franchise group and also started the Kaiser Land Company (land sales division) and Northern Commercial (commercial building sales & leases). Coldwell Banker Kaiser moved their office in 1995 to North Meridian Street in Carmel, approximately two blocks from where Kaiser Real Estate started, and are now at 12401 Old Meridian Street.

Manterfield one of Worth magazine’s Top 100 Attorneys Krieg DeVault Partner Eric A. Manterfield has been named to the prestigious Worth’s Top 100 Attorneys for 2008. Manterfield, a Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Administration, was one of only two attorneys from the state of Indiana named Eric Manterfield to this national list. A Noblesville resident, Manterfield is a former President of the Estate Planning Council of Indianapolis and served as the Adjunct Professor of Estate Planning at the Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington for thirty years. He is the author of Critical Elements of Estate Planning with Forms and is a regular columnist for the Indianapolis Business Journal and Hoosier Banker.

The Craigs are fourth quarter tourism STAR(s)

Ed and Judy Craig

Ed and Judy Craig, volunteers at Conner Prairie, have been named Hamilton County’s Hospitality STAR(s) for the final quarter of 2008 by the Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Craig’s have been volunteers at Conner Prairie for over ten years. “Between the two of them, there is not a task to small or big,” said Jody Thomas, nominator.

Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09


News “The dedicated couple has done it all from door greeters to cookie passer to helping Prairie Tykes and driving the tractor for Headless Horseman.” Also nominated for the final quarter: Don Dragoo, Rhonda Wright, and Darcy Bryant, Fishers Freedom Festival; Gregg Hiland, Fishers YMCA; the staff at Fairfield Inn & Suites in Noblesville and Jennifer Getz at Laser Flash in Carmel.

CVB announces recipients of the Eight Great Towns Grant Seven communities were awarded Eight Great Towns Grant awards totaling $160,000. This program supports tourism development specific to the county’s cities and towns.

Atlanta $20,000, for a Main Street historic building façade improvement program. Cicero $20,000, for tourism economic development planning of the waterfront and downtown development. Fishers $26,250, to support the Liberty Plaza installation on the town’s village green. Noblesville $25,000, for a unique installation of two “rain gardens” with public art installations in historic downtown. Sheridan $18,750, to support a matching grant from the Indiana Main Street Downtown Enhancement Grant program which includes three projects: restoration of a mural, a downtown “green space” development and a façade grant program. Westfield $25,000, to support the Grand Junction master planning effort, including design and economic development strategies. Funding for the grants comes from a five percent innkeepers tax collected by the county’s 30 lodging properties.

Downtown Atlanta

Recipients include:

Hare Chevrolet gets national press for longevity

Arcadia $25,000, for the first phase of a linear park installation connecting Main Street to the Arcadia Heritage Depot and matching funds for a state grant to conduct comprehensive planning.

Car and Driver Magazine features Hare Chevrolet in its February edition as “America’s longest-lived family-owned purveyor of vehicles.” The article traces the company’s roots back to 1847 when

22-year-old Wesley Hare began building carriages and buggies in a Noblesville log cabin. Six generations and several expansions later, the Hare family still runs the business in Noblesville, with husband and wife team Jackie Hare and Dave Cox planning to pass the legacy on to daughters (and current vice presidents) Courtney Cole and Monica Peck upon their retirement. The article quotes Cox and Hare extensively on how the auto business has changed over the years and how W. Hare and Son has adapted to serve a changing market.

United Way names LIVE UNITED winners United Way of Central Indiana has announced three winners of its 2008 LIVE UNITED in Hamilton County competition. Carmel-based Conseco, Leaf Software Solutions and Telamon Corporation were selected in the first friendly competition launched in September to help elevate awareness about the importance of participating in United Way’s annual campaign. Area Director Joan Isaac said the companies each provide positive examples of what it means to LIVE UNITED by encouraging giving, advocating and volunteering to positively change conditions in the community.

Reach thousands of influential decision makers with your advertising message

Is mailed to every chamber of commerce member in Hamilton County. April/May issue will be mailed the week of March 30. Advertising Deadline is Friday, February 27. Call Mike Corbett, 774-7747 or e-mail mcorbett@hamiltoncountybusiness.com to reserve your space.


February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

How I started... Godby owes success to tenacity and knowing his customers By Martha Yoder

Godby Home Furnishings in Westfield

“The three great essentials to achieving anything worthwhile are: first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” That quote by Thomas Edison describes how Jim Godby, owner of Godby Home Furnishings, became a successful business owner of four furniture stores and realized revenues of $20 million last year.

Hard work pays off

Born and raised in Sheridan, Indiana, Godby discovered the furniture business by accident. After graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Agribusiness and serving in the U.S.

ing furniture for the stores. “We communicate every day about decisions…it’s my dream to bring my family into my business,” Godby said.

Know your customer

Despite the economy, Godby finds his business, with 100 employees, thriving. Jeff Godby says one reason their business is successful is because they know what their customers want. “Many of our customers have already made their contributions in the workplace and are looking to improve their quality of life afterwards,” said Jeff. Since most of their customers are over the age of 50, Godby is hoping to capture the next generation of prospective customers who receive their parents’ Godby furniture hand-me-downs.

The First Godby Home Furnishings, Sheridan

Army in Vietnam, he returned home looking for a job. On a tip from a friend, he began selling furniture in Warsaw, Indiana. He found he had a knack for knowing what customers wanted. Within three years, Godby opened a tiny two-room furniture store in Sheridan, convinced he could make a go of it. “I realized early in my career that I liked being my own boss, so I opened a store in my hometown where I knew and liked the people,” Godby remembered. A well-known basketball star for Sheridan High School, Godby built the business by working seven days a week. He rarely, if ever, took a vacation. “Eighty percent of success is showing up day-to-day,” Godby commented. After raising three children, he introduced his son, Jeff, to the business in 1992. They complement each other well. They finish each other’s sentences and have similar tastes when purchas-

Preparing for the future

Visiting his four furniture stores each week is part of the enjoyment Godby receives from his job. He goes from the Westfield store where he has his main office, to Noblesville, Lebanon and Avon. He’s considering adding another store in the future. The years of dedication to the furniture business have Jim and Jeff Godby paid off for Godby, who enjoys giving back to Sheridan through philanthropic efforts. He also treasures watching his six grandchildren play sports. “I have a very active life, but I don’t see myself retiring. I love what I do too much." v

Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09


Barbara Eden (middle) was the MV2 award winner for most valuable volunteer sponsored by the National Bank of Indianapolis. She is pictured here with Sharon Linder (left) and Mo Merhoff (right).

Joe’s Butcher Shop & Fish Market was named the Applause Award winner sponsored by Harrison & Moberly. Joe and Kathy Lazzarra own the shop located on Main Street.

Mindi and Ron Miller were awarded the Look Award for New Construction for the Carmel Drive Professional Building. The Look Awards are sponsored by Bose McKinney & Evans, Pedcor Companies and the Carmel Redevelopment Commission.

The Simply Sweet Shoppe and Second Story Playhouse were awarded the Look Award for Renovation for their remodel of their building located in the Arts & Design District. From left to right: Bernie VanDeman, foreman, Bernie Szuhaj and Jill Zaniker of Simply Sweet Shoppe, and Brian VanDeman, VanDeman Builders.


February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

Citizens for Greenspace was the inaugural winner of the Carmel Green Award sponsored by Vine & Branch, Inc.. From left to right: Andy Pell, Vine & Branch, Inc., Sue Dillon and Marilyn Anderson, Citizens for Greenspace and Jud Scott, Vine & Branch, Inc..

Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09



2 ~ Economic Development

Old Country Buffet ~ 11:30 AM

9 ~ Breakfast-Legislative Oak Hill ~ 7:30 AM

19 ~ Luncheon

IMMI ~ 11:00 AM


2 ~ Economic Development

Old Country Buffet ~ 11:30 AM

9 ~ Breakfast-Legislative Oak Hill ~ 7:30 AM

12 ~ Networking Breakfast

Lutz’s w/Noblesville Chamber 8:00 AM

19 ~ Luncheon

CrossRoads Church ~ 11:00 AM

26 ~ Connect 2 w/ Carmel Kelties ~ 5-7 PM

John Kerr and Edward Jones Celebrate 10 years in Westfield. John Kerr (with scissors) surrounded by City and Chamber officials, family and clients prepare to cut the ribbon celebrating his new Edward Jones office in downtown Westfield . John has served the Westfield area for 10 years.

Downtown Westfield Neighborhood Association (DWNA) members celebrate the holidays at Gallery One36. Center: Katherine & Chris Kemp, Owners of the Gallery

Calendar This information is accurate as of press time. Please check chamber websites for updates.


Thursday, 19th 4:30-7:00

Monday, 2nd 11:30

Westfield Economic Development Committee Old Country Buffet, Westfield

Tuesday 3rd 11:30-1

Hamilton North Luncheon Red Bridge Park, Cicero

Wednesday, 4th 8-9:30am

Fishers Morning Motivator networking Keller Williams NE

Wednesday, 4th 8am

Hamilton North Alive After Five Day’s Healthy Living Pharmacy, Cicero

Tuesday, 24th 11:30-1 Wednesday, 25th 11:30

Wednesday, 18th 7:30-9am

Noblesville Luncheon State of the Schools Boys and Girls Club

Wednesday, 25th 4:30-6:30

Sheridan Luncheon Red Onion

Carmel Networking Breakfast Eddie Merlot’s

Thursday, 26th

Monday, 9th 7:30-9am

Business Roundabout Social Networking 5-6:30 Series 101: Basketball 101 5-6 Monon Center, Carmel

Legislative Breakfast Mansion at Oak Hill

Wednesday, 11th Noon-1:30 Carmel Luncheon Renaissance Indianapolis North

MARCH Sunday, 1st 2-5

Noblesville NetWORKS Eddie’s Corner Cafe

Sheridan Chamber Fundraiser for Wheelchair Van for Blake and Trey Ettinger Coopers Stardust Bowl, Noblesville

Thursday, 12th 8am Wednesday, 18th 11:30-1

Carmel Business Over Bagels Baker and Daniels

Wednesday, 18th 11:30-1

Fishers Luncheon Forum Conference Center, Fishers

Thursday, 19th 11-1 Westfield Luncheon Crossroads Church

Wednesday 25th 11:30 Noblesville Luncheon Purgatory Golf Club

Wednesday, 25th 4:30-6:30 Fishers Business After Hours Harris Bank

Thursday 26th 11:30-1 Sheridan Luncheon Los Cotorros

Thursday 26th 5-7

Monday, 2nd 11:30

Fishers Luncheon Forum Conference Center

Westfield Economic Development Committee Old Country Buffet, Westfield

Connect 2 -Carmel and Westfield networking Kelties, Westfield

Wednesday, 18th 7pm

Tuesday, 3rd 11:30-1

Noblesville Taste of Business Hamilton County Fairgrounds

Hamilton County Business Discussion Group Model Mill Building, Noblesville (see ad pg. 5)

Thursday, 19th 11:00-1 Westfield Luncheon IMMI

Hamilton North Luncheon Location TBD

Monday, 9th 7:30-9am Legislative Breakfast Mansion at Oak Hill

The 2009 edition of the Welcome to Hamilton County Visitors Guide will be published this Spring. Reach thousands of visitors who stay at our hotels, stop at visitors’ centers and visit other local businesses every year. They want to know what you have to offer! Now taking advance orders for advertising.

Call or email Mike Corbett, Publisher 774-7747 or mcorbett@hamiltoncountybusiness.com


Thursday, 12th 8-9:30am

Westfield-Noblesville networking Lutz’s

Thursday, 26th 11:30

Thursday, 5th 7:30-9am

Carmel Luncheon The Fountains

2009 Outlook Ritz Charles

Fishers Business After Hours Church, Church, Hittle and Antrim, Fishers

Noblesville Chamber University Chamber office

Wednesday, 11th Noon-1:30

February • March 09/Hamilton County Business Magazine

Tuesday, 31st 4:30-7

For more information on these events please contact the chambers at these numbers: Carmel Chamber of Commerce 846-1049 - www.carmelchamber.com Fishers Chamber of Commerce 578-0700 - www.fisherschamber.com Hamilton North Chamber of Commerce 984-4079 - www.hamiltonnorthchamber.com Noblesville Chamber of Commerce 773-0086 - www.noblesvillechamber.com Sheridan Chamber of Commerce 758-1311 - www.sheridanchamber.org Westfield Chamber of Commerce 804-3030 - www.westfield-chamber.org

David Heighway

Strawtown: The Times Square of pioneer Hamilton County

Map courtesy of the Hamilton County Surveyor

Hamilton County History

As you drive through the back roads of Hamilton County today, you may end up in the small hamlet of Strawtown, a pleasantly wooded part of the county. As strange at it may seem, this was once the key transportation crossroads in the area, and travelers going to Lafayette or Fort Wayne or even Cincinnati would have to pass through here. This migrant traffic gave this town a certain amount of significance and helped establish the first businesses in the county. It also gave the town a unique character. The main transportation route was a trail known as the Lafayette Trace, which ran from the Whitewater Valley, up to the White River and paralleling it until crossing at Strawtown, and then heading northwest to the Wea and Wildcat prairies on the Wabash River. It probably began as a prehistoric game trail, used by elk and other migratory animals headed for the prairie pastures. Early Native Americans eventually followed the game and established settlements along the trail. Traces of those settlements, in the form of mounds, can be found at New Castle, Anderson, and Strawtown. Europeans began using the trail possibly as early as 1717 to get to the fur trading post of Fort Ouiatenon. At the site of Strawtown, a trail going north-south crossed the Lafayette Trace. This went to the Miami Indian town of Kekionga (Fort Wayne). Although this area was Miami territory, the Lenape (Delaware) tribe had established a town at Strawtown by the 1790’s. Sometime around 1800, a member of the Brouillette family of Vincennes allegedly became the first fur trader to establish a post here. As settlement increased, the traffic increased. Tecumseh passed through in 1809 when he moved his headquarters from Anderson to the Tippecanoe River at what would become the site of the battle of Tippecanoe.

The Treaty of St. Mary’s officially opened the area to settlement in 1818 and a crude, brawling frontier community sprang up at the crossing of the White river. The Lafayette Trace was one of the few routes into the county, so it was necessary for nearly all travelers to pass through the area. John Shintaffer opened the first store, which catered to the pioneer traffic. He also committed the first murder in the county and had to flee to avoid retribution. Two noted early diversions in town were the distillery and the horse racing track, both run by Jacob Hyer, (who later became overseer of the poor!). Despite its significance, the town was not chosen for the state capitol in 1820 because it was not central enough and its reputation too rough. There was no church building in Strawtown until 1865. After Noblesville was platted in 1823, it competed with Strawtown for business. However, Strawtown stayed dominant because it was the jumping off point for settlers moving farther west. In one set of memoirs, a man remembered traveling as a child in the autumn of 1824 between Strawtown and Thorntown and being told that there were no houses for 40 miles beyond the White River. West of Cicero Creek, his group of travelers ran out of water. He became so desperate that he stooped to drink out of a muddy hoof print and said “I closed my eyes lest I might see wigglers in the water.” Strawtown expected a large growth in business when the Central Canal was planned in 1826. However, the canal project failed in 1837, and other roads were established. As Noblesville became more significant and accessible, the Lafayette Trace became less and less used and was eventually abandoned. A map of the county made in 1866 (above) shows that Strawtown still had hopeful ideas. Among the great number of lots platted, streets named Canal and Ft. Wayne can be seen. They no longer exist or have been renamed on modern maps. But the road running through the center of town is still Lafayette Street – because two centuries ago, that was where it went. David Heighway is the Hamilton County historian. Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09


What do Starbucks, Nordstrom, Google and Apple/MacIntosh all have in common? Each has the ability to create a memorable experience. Each company has taken something that could be considered a “commodity” and has elevated it to a “unique experience.” If you personally have purchased something from the companies above, it is not hard to recount why you chose them and why you would likely use them again. Why do some businesses have that kind of appeal while others don’t? In their book, The Experience Economy, authors Pine and Gilmore describe the genius behind creating a unique experience for each customer or client as the reason for the appeal. The number one lesson for every entrepreneur is to avoid becoming commoditized at all costs! “No company wants that word applied to its goods or services. Merely mentioning commoditization sends shivers down the spines of executives and entrepreneurs alike. Differentiation disappears, margins fall through the floor, and customers buy solely on the basis of price, price, price.” We now live in an economy that is hyper-sensitive to price points, and consumers are willing to wait for just the right moment to make that purchase. If you are only competing on price, you are on very shaky ground and you may risk losing business. If you are depending on people to remain loyal to the brand for brand sake alone, you must give them another reason to try your brand and, better yet, return. These authors challenge business owners to change even the mundane transactions into memorable experiences. The goal according to Pine and Gilmore is to move your product or service through the four stages of development. The book outlines a progression that moves from commodity, to a good, to service and finally to where customers look at your business as having created a unique and memorable experience. This book uses the analogy of theater quite well—a great play or musical has had intense rehearsals and everyone knows

their part. Sports teams don’t excel by accident, they practice and drill and prepare. Pine and Gilmore encourage entrepreneurs to see this new source of value. “Experiences are a fourth economic offering, as distinct from services as services are from goods, but one that has until now gone largely unrecognized. Experiences have always been around, but consumers, businesses, and economists lumped them into the service sector along with such uneventful activities as dry cleaning, auto repair, wholesale distribution, and telephone access. When a person buys a service he purchases a set of intangible activities carried out on his behalf. But when he buys an experience, he pays to spend time enjoying a series of memorable events that a company stages —as in a theatrical play–to engage him in a personal way.” As a business leader, owner or executive, if you are concerned about making it through this difficult economic time, this book is a must read. In this intense business environment, you have two choices: 1. you can compete; or 2. you can separate yourself by creating a unique experience that has no direct competition, and therefore you stand alone.

Scott Eckart is the Director of Financial Planning for Westpoint Financial Group.


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Digitally printed signs and banners of any size, vehicle wraps and graphics, T-shirt printing, laser engraving. Great customer service, fast turn-around. Family Owned and Operated. Serving Noblesville and Hamilton County since 1992. Also home of Noblesville Trophies 773-7391 Open M-F 9-6 Sat. 10-2

ProStar Consulting, Inc. offers all of the services that you would expect from a Bookkeeper or Controller/ CFO of an organization. We provide cost-effective, outsourced accounting and financial consulting services that profitably satisfy your daily accounting demands while aligning with the specific goals and missions of your business. Our passion is accounting. Our services are your financial gain.

To Advertise in the Business Resource Directory call Mike Corbett at 774-7747 or e-mail mcorbett@hamiltoncountybusiness.com Hamilton County Business Magazine/ February • March 09


Profile for Mike Corbett

Hamilton County Business Magazine February/March 2009  

The Hamilton County Business Magazine celebrates and promotes industry, commerce and entrepreneurship in Hamilton County, Indiana

Hamilton County Business Magazine February/March 2009  

The Hamilton County Business Magazine celebrates and promotes industry, commerce and entrepreneurship in Hamilton County, Indiana

Profile for mcorbett