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New Castle | Henry County

Special report: CELEBRATING

city transformations

Chamber Magazine Fall 2014


Chamber honors 2014 Business & Citizen of the Year



Henry County Hospital’s program is all heart




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Downtown New Castle rebound coming your way, one wall at a time


hange is in the air for downtown New Castle – and the Chamber of Commerce is excited to be a part of it. While work revs up on the historic Jennings Building project, your Chamber was recently approved by the Office of Community and Rural Affairs to begin developing a main street program in our downtown area. In the near future this organization will be creating committees and work plans to move our downtown forward. Watch for more details on how you can get involved. Many of us no doubt remember the good old days of Broad Street. For some, it’s probably hard to drive by and see the former Kresge store gone, replaced by a parking lot. But while the everyday motorist doesn’t see it yet, great things are happening, one wall at a time, inside the grand Jennings structure. I think this could be the most exciting transformation downtown New Castle has had in decades. In addition to the four new restaurants planned inside the Jennings building, you may have noticed the big banner hanging

New Castle | Henry County

Henry County’s contribution to this milestone a great one. To learn more about statewide celebration, visit EXECUTIVE the www.indiana2016.org. DIRECTOR Yes change is in the air while history is alive and well. One thing that won’t change, however, is the dedication of your Chamber board. We have a very involved group of board members who work very hard to move the Chamber forward in our across the street, announcing that a new mission of being an active voice for the eatery is coming soon there as well. We’ve Chamber membership and community had a strong business presence on Ind. 3 as a leader in promoting growth and for years. Imagine if that could be matched development toward a favorable economic by a vibrant downtown. and social environment. Timing of downtown’s resurgence We have leaders in community couldn’t be better. Indiana’s bicentennial organizations who are willing to work is coming up in 2016, just two years together to see that our community is from now. The Indiana Bicentennial becoming a better place in which to live Commission is planning many events and and work. activities for 2016 and they are asking for It all makes for delicious times to come each county to participate by planning – in more ways than one. ■ Legacy Projects. While the Chamber is the lead contact Missy Modesitt is Executive Director of for this celebration, we will be asking for the New Castle-Henry County Chamber volunteers to step forward to help make of Commerce.

Chamber Magazine Volume 4, Issue 2

PUBLISHER Missy Modesitt, Executive Director, New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce info@nchcchamber.com DESIGN AND EDITORIAL DIRECTION The JMetzger Group Juli Metzger | juli@thejmetzgergroup.com John Metzger | john@thejmetzgergroup.com www.thejmetzgergroup.com 765.744.4303 CONTRIBUTORS Writing: Darrel Radford, Doug Gruse Photography: Tim Underhill, David Nantz To advertise, contact The JMetzger Group: 765.744.4303 | john@thejmetzgergroup.com For subscription information, contact Missy Modesitt at 765.529.5210. 4 | CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Fall 2013

Missy Modesitt

Chamber Magazine: The voice of New Castle-Henry County Chamber businesses. It is a product of The JMetzger Group and the New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce. These materials are the sole and exclusive property of The JMetzger Group and the New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and may not be used without written consent. Copyright 2014: The JMetzger Group and The New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce.

The JMetzger Group specializes in branded content, custom publishing and social media solutions. Learn more: www.thejmetzgergroup.com

New Castle | Henry County

Chamber Magazine TABLE OF CONTENTS



















Getting our torch ready for Indiana’s bicentennial


ndiana became a state in BOARD 1816. Just six years later, New Castle was platted. Needless PRESIDENT to say, we have a lot to celebrate, as the state gets ready for its Kevin bicentennial in two years. Brown Your Chamber has been contacted to assist in a statewide celebration that will include a torch to be carried throughout all 92 counties. We will be arranging the torch bearers and announcing the route in the near future. Certainly, part of that route could be through downtown New Castle, a place that is currently undergoing historic change, as profiled in this edition of Chamber Magazine. Our downtown has been chosen to be a Main Street community, enabling it to apply for special grants and other assistance. I can’t remember a time when I’ve been so excited about the future of the downtown. Two other special events are coming:  Plans are being made to create a hospitality training program just in time for the new restaurants opening in town. The concept would mean hotel and restaurant staff would be trained in areas of greeting newcomers, explaining benefits of our community, as well as general customer service.  The Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will have a board retreat in October to review our strategic plan and implement sections of the plan. I enjoy being the president/board member of the Chamber of Commerce, and have served on the board for the past 15 years or so, in some capacity. I feel that we have a wonderful community of business leaders, staff, and people who care. In just six short years, we will be celebrating New Castle’s 200th anniversary. What will our community look like then? With the Jennings project under way, new restaurants coming, a Main Street program in place and Ivy Tech going strong, I believe it will be an exciting community to live in, indeed. A place you’d be proud to carry a torch through. ■ Kevin Brown, owner of Hinsey-Brown Funeral Home, is president of the Chamber of Commerce.

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mall businesses and entrepreneurs are important to our economy. EDC Collectively, they are a significant DIRECTOR source of jobs and wealth generation. There are local resources available to you to support growth and Corey expansion of your business. In 2013, Murphy according to www.youreconomy. org, Henry County was home to 1,900 business entities employing between two and 99, which is the definition of “small business.” Imagine the positive impact on our community if every one of those businesses would add just one new position to their payroll. The Economic Development Corporation (EDC), through business advising and partnership with the Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC), strives to grow your business. Learn more at www.isbdc.org. This service is more than a web site. Confidential, no cost, face-to-face business advising guidance is available here in Henry County. Contact the EDC at 765-521-7402 to make an appointment. This service is for both existing businesses and those interested in starting a new business. Our local adviser can help clients access the services featured and offered on the website. The secret of business advising is obtaining perspective from an external, unemotional, and independent source.  Here are practical examples of services offered by our business adviser:  Hold “Launch Your Own Business Seminars” to help prospective businesses determine whether their idea is feasible  Help clients write their business plan to obtain an SBA loan  Help clients develop financial projections to obtain funding from a revolving loan fund program  Assist clients in finding new customers based on a SIC code profile search of their existing best customers  Provide demographic information on client’s area of operation, including general information on spending habits, net worth, and related topics  Provide industry-standard financial data to help clients compare their financial performance and ratio to competitors  Connect clients to other vendors and/or clients who provided services they were requiring  Suggest resource materials and vendors for specific applications or business stages   Work in-depth with clients on the development of their business and new products or services   Consult with business owners on a variety of subjects, from bankruptcy to expansion to sales to manufacturing The EDC offers an Enterprise Loan Fund (ELF).  The ELF is made possible through grant funding from the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant and local investment. The target loan size is between $10,000 and $40,000 and can generally be used for equipment and/or working capital.  The purpose of the loan is not to compete with local banks but to be complimentary. The application is available on-line at www.nchcedc.org in the NC HC ELF section.  Let me know how we can help your business. ■ Corey Murphy is President and CEO of the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp.

Broad street P







How a pair of savvy Georgia developers are transforming the historic Jennings Building Just seven years ago, the 100-year-old Jennings Building in the heart of downtown New Castle was on Historic Landmark Foundation’s 10-most endangered list.


n August, walls were, indeed, being torn apart in the upstairs portion of the 135year-old building with the Italinate cast iron façade. But not for demolition. For rehabilitation and a new future. Downtown New Castle’s most significant project in decades could do more than just revitalize a structure built when Thomas Edison was still inventing things. It could help reinvent the entire downtown area. When the dust settles, four new restaurants will be open in the grand old building at the corner of 14th and Broad streets, bearing the name of a family that was instrumental in the early growth of the city. A fifth new restaurant is planned just across the street in the former Bella Vita restaurant once owned by Tim Durham, an Indianapolis financier convicted in 2012 of stealing millions from his clients in a Ponzi scheme. Behind it all are a couple of savvy businessman from Georgia who, for the past seven years, have had New Castle, Indiana, on their minds. CONTINUED ON PAGE 12



Jennings Building

through the years

1867: Levi

Allen Jennings, an Ashland, Ohio, resident believed to have participated in the Civil War battle with Morgan’s Raiders in Indiana, comes to New Castle.


Jennings begins to build “the large, elegant and commodious” block on what was then referred to as East Broad Street, one the local newspaper described as “by far the finest building ever erected in New Castle.”

Late 1800s: The

building features “an assortment of goods the like of which has never been seen in this city before,” said one story. On the first floor are hardware, silverware, tinware, stoves, and glassware. The second floor and third floors are devoted to furniture, bedroom sets, parlor sets, chairs of every variety and sofas. The basement is used as a tin shop for manufacture of tin ware.

1907:: On

Jan. 10, 1907, a place called the Theatorium opened in the basement of the Jennings Building, New Castle’s first motion picture venue. In the next day’s issue of the newspaper, Walter S. Chambers Jr. called the event “auspicious.”

1914:: Levi Jennings dies.

CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Fall 2014 | 11


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How it all started Since 2006, Ray Willey and Bill Brown, owners of Historic Properties, Inc., have been coming to New Castle and dreaming about what could become of the Jennings Building, which, before their arrival, sadly was evolving into “pigeon paradise.” A former New Castle resident and Indiana Historic Landmarks staff member first drew Willey and Brown here. “Wayne Goodman was our connecting point,” Willey said. “We knew Wayne in prior years through national meetings and conventions for people who restore old buildings. He’s a great advocate for New Castle and told us ‘I want to show you this old building.’ ” “He was instrumental in saving that building for the town,” Brown added. “He was a force with community leaders, telling them ‘you’ll spend just as much to tear it down as you will to shore it up.’ ” A tried-and-true formula Fast-forward seven years later and the orange netting surrounding the building is a sign of progress, not demise. When they’re finished, a barbeque restaurant capable of having concerts will be on the main floor, ready to serve and entertain 100 people. On the corner facing 14th Street, a coffee and bagel shop will offer downtown employees and others attractive outside tables to start their day. There also will be an old-style Irish pub with a burger and fish-and-chip type menu. A gourmet pizza parlor is also planned with big screen televisions where sports fans can watch professional sports – or high school teams can view replays of their athletic accomplishments. In a downtown that’s long been ignored, some wonder where all the customers will come from for these new restaurants. Well, some might come from the 20 apartments directly above the restaurants that also are part of the Jennings Project. Willey and Brown have been doing this sort of thing for more than three decades. From Modesto, Calif. to Lynchburg, Va. and Syracuse, N.Y., just to name a few, Historic Properties Inc. has led the charge of building preservation and rehabilitation across the country.

Jennings Building

through the years

Post-World War II era: The corner storefront houses Schiff’s Shoe Store, later known as B&B Shoes. F.W. Woolworths dime store is a neighbor for a short time, followed by G.C. Murphys and Beall’s Men’s Clothing Store.

1996: Only

one business, a martial arts school, remains in the once vibrant business building, now plagued by roof problems and water leaks. A local resident, Helena Beerwart, purchases the building with a dream of restoring it, but runs into financial problems.

2008:: The

Historic Landmarks Foundation is named the receiver for the building, appointed by New Castle Judge Mary Willis to make the building safe.

March 2013: Ray

Willey, CEO of Historic Properties, Inc., announces during a New Castle Redevelopment Commission meeting that the Jennings Building renovation project will receive a $353,341 tax credit.

They have a tried-and-true formula for revitalizing downtowns. “One of the things we’ve learned over the years is that if you bring in restaurants and entertainment, then retail follows that,” Willey said. “It doesn’t ever really work the other way. Stores don’t just come in. But if you have restaurants that are fun and offer an entertainment component, other things will come. Skeptics should rest easy Willey said he’s heard the skepticism and doesn’t blame people for it. And he can’t predict the future. But he knows one thing. “I can assure you 20 apartments are happening and four restaurants are happening,” he said. “We have the leases signed and in place. We’re respecting the wishes of the operators to release information about who’s doing what in a certain time sequence.” The barbeque resident on the main floor has already been announced as Firehouse Barbeque of Richmond. The developers received a sizeable federal historic rehabilitation tax credit as well as a “very competitive affordable housing tax credit.” Willey stressed those are good only if he and Brown follow through and complete their plans. New Castle, he said, is fortunate in many ways. “There are great buildings around the country just like the Jennings Building,” Willey said. “But in a lot of towns, you just can’t do this kind of project. Sometimes, the building is so far deteriorated and structurally unsound, making a seismic retrofit cost prohibitive. “But more often, the town can’t support it,” Willey continued. “In other words, we could never go in and do a building if we can’t lease it out. I have to tell you probably 60 percent or more of the buildings around the country fit that category. They’re beautiful buildings, but you can’t get anyone to rent them. “The only way it works for us is we’re fortunate to have some established relationships with tenants because we’ve been doing this 33 years,” Willey added. “My two brothers own pizza chains. The guy doing the coffee/ bagel shop I went to high school with. And the welcome of the community has to be there.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 15

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info@nchcedc.org www.nchcedc.org Matt Layman, Bill Brown, and Ray Willey share a common vision for the Jennings Building. Darrel Radford photo. CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Fall 2014 | 13

Long shot artists

Former rivals team to dream in downtown New Castle renovation


framed newspaper clipping on the wall of Josh Estelle’s newly renovated office speaks loudly about what has happened inside one of downtown New Castle’s older buildings. The photo shows Estelle with a basketball in hand rising in the air, ready to take a long shot. The scoreboard above reads Batesville 61, New Castle 59 and shows just one second left on the clock. The scene is not only frozen in time on the wall, but will forever be lodged in the memories of Trojan basketball fans because Estelle’s three-pointer went cleanly through the net and put the Trojans into the Sweet Sixteen. “It comes up occasionally,” Estelle smiled in reference to the shot from 1996. The photo is, in a way, a symbol of what Estelle’s insurance team is doing now – and perhaps a metaphor for the entire downtown. From December 2012 to late summer 2013, the Pfenninger, Claxton and Estelle Insurance Group conducted a comprehensive renovation of what locals know as the Burk Building, long a fixture of downtown New Castle. It’s the biggest renovation for the building since 1972. Like Estelle’s basketball heroics, it was a long shot, one that some might have been afraid to take. But bold action brought down walls, gutted what had been a long ignored upstairs and reshaped the building entrance. STORY 14 | CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Fall 2014BY DARREL RADFORD

Today, there are five offices upstairs and the downstairs portion is drawing cheers from customers, many of whom were there the night Estelle hit that game winning shot in 1996. “It’s been great,” Estelle said. “We’ve gotten all kinds of compliments. We now have six additional people in here we didn’t have before.” The inviting first floor each customer sees today when walking in almost resembles an art gallery, as scenic photos hang on the walls – many of them taken by Steve Pfenninger, whose grandfather bought the agency in 1920 and put the family name on the door. There also is a new conference room, audio-visual capabilities, new restrooms and a kitchen. The most important aspect of the office, though, is how it has helped bring together two former rivals under one roof. Five years ago, Pfenninger Agency teamed with Associated Agencies, a company the late Paul Thornhill built into a local success. “It’s been a great relationship,” Estelle said. “Steve’s father and Gary’s father were fierce competitors, but we overcame the old rivalry early.” Estelle said the team depth this merger has generated is exciting. “If one person was sick or on vacation, it used to form a disruption for each of us,” Estelle said. Then, sounding like a team captain or a coach, he added, “Now we are at least three people deep in every department. There is never going to be a time when we don’t have a qualified person available to answer a customer question. Neither of us could ever say that before.” Estelle said he had been approached with the idea of constructing a new office building on Ind. 3. “I wanted to be downtown,” he said. “That was important to me because of our involvement in the community and our history. “From a pure investment standpoint, to remodel a 100-year-old building is not necessarily a smart decision,” Estelle admitted. “If I had to sell it, the renovation wouldn’t pay off. “But this was a long-term decision for us.” Estelle continued. “My hope is that in 15 to 20 years, this will have helped the downtown with all the other things that are going on now.” Another long shot that people may be talking about in a healthy downtown New Castle for years to come. ■ PHOTO BY TIM UNDERHILL


Star-studded friends Willey and Brown have some pretty impressive friends who are partners in Historic Properties, Inc. “It’s a broad eclectic group of people,” Brown said. “Probably the guy that Ray’s known the longest is Richard Keel, the guy who played ‘Jaws’ in the James Bond movies. He’s known by multiple generations now. The kids recognize him from the Happy Gilmore movie and adults know him from the James Bond stuff. “Roddy Piper, the wrestler, is a big hit when he comes to an event, because before you know it, he’s got city council people in headlocks. Everybody loves that picture in the paper.” Though there are no firm commitments yet, Willey and Brown said it is possible that one or more of their famous friends might come to New Castle for grand openings. Other Historic Properties, Inc. business partners include famous names like NFL great Rosy Grier and MASH actor Jamie Farr. The late Mickey Rooney was also part of the group. “They all have a heart for saving old buildings,” Willey said. But Willey said he’s gotten all-star treatment from New Castle officials. “I think it started with Mayor Jim Small and certainly your current mayor, Greg York, has been the driving force,” Willey said. “We couldn’t have done this without the assistance of Greg.

Jennings Building

through the years

June 2013:

The former Kresge Department Store Building across the street from the Jennings Building comes down, allowing for parking for the four restaurants and apartments planned in the renovated Jennings Building.

We would never want to go where we had to force ourselves on the city. New Castle officials like attorney Dave Copenhaver and the Redevelopment Commission have welcomed us with open arms. Jerry Cash of the housing authority has been instrumental, too.” Tangible and intangible impacts The restaurants may bring a combined 120 jobs to the downtown area in addition to new tenants and increased traffic. Mayor York and city officials are contemplating a name they hope will stick, something like Broad Street Promenade. Their hope is downtown New Castle can become “a restaurant destination.” But the intangible thing may be just as important – a synergy downtown New Castle hasn’t had in years. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be others who will want to follow,” Willey said. Willey estimates that perhaps the project will be complete by June or July of 2015, a time perhaps when years of indifference and indecisiveness about downtown New Castle ends – and the discussion suddenly centers on which restaurant to try first. ■

May 2014:

Groundbreaking ceremonies are held for the Jennings Building renovation project.

October 2014: The

Jennings Building renovation is well under way, with a target completion date of summer, 2015.

The Jennings Building groundbreaking was in May 2014. The project has a targeted completion date of 2015.

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www.hinsey-brown.com CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Fall 2014 | 15

Generations of ‘Citizens’

A facelift has the 140-year-old bank looking better than ever


hen Citizens State Bank first opened its doors in downtown New Castle, Mark Twain had just released his latest book. Jesse James was a wanted man and people were watching P.T. Barnum’s circus acts for the first time. The year was 1873. Today, more than 140 years later, Citizens State Bank – believed to be the third oldest in Indiana – is still in downtown New Castle but the grand institution is certainly not showing its age. A recent makeover has the bank’s current building – constructed in 1923 when Interurban trains used to roll by – looking better than ever. The first major renovation project since 1974 features a brighter lobby, more vibrant colors and a spacious, modern look, reflecting the changes this industry has seen in recent years.



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“We once had eight teller windows that were fully staffed,” said Bill Aitchison, President and CEO of Citizens State Bank. “Then we cut it down to six and now we have just three. It’s different now than it was 40 years ago. People are using online banking and mobile banking so there’s no need for eight teller windows.” Case in point, Aitchison said his son still banks here, even though he lives in Portland, Ore. Another customer resides in London, England. “So many people get paid with direct deposit now,” added Dan Maddox, who represents a fourth generation of the family that started it all. But the reduction in teller windows doesn’t mean less business. On the contrary, Citizens State Bank is growing and that growth is reflected in the latest remodeling effort. The new-look downtown New Castle facility is headquarters for all the branches, which now include Hartford City. Montpelier, Portland, Dunkirk and Union City in addition to Pendleton, Fishers, Rushville, Knightstown and Lewisville. “All of our bookkeeping functions and our loan credit department are centralized here,” Aitchison said. “The renovation has just allowed us to do some things for all of our branches.” A conference room also was part of the seven-month remodeling effort. “We needed to have some space for meetings, so we took part of the basement and converted that into a 50-to-60 person conference room,” Aitchison said.

Bill Aitchison in the newly remodeled Downtown New Castle headquarters of Citizens State Bank.

The bank’s renovation is the latest sign of significant momentum for downtown New Castle. “When we had our grand opening, it was really encouraging to see Atlas Collections and Pfenninger Insurance also having done remodels,” Maddox said. “What photographer David Nantz did with his building and what’s happening now with the Jennings project are things to be excited about. We hope we can provide a catalyst for future development downtown.” “We’ve survived two world wars, a Great Depression and a Great Recession,” Maddox concluded. “We continue to have financial strength and stability to be a growing company.” ■

Why My Co-op Matters Some folks don’t get to see the result of their work every day, but I do. My neighbors expect electricity to be there when they need it; I literally connect my friends to power. Henry County REMC provides another kind of power, too. Since 2012, we have helped members save more than $105,000 on prescription drugs through our Co-op Connections® Program.

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My co-op’s commitment to powering my community matters to me. rick Byrer Lineworker and member CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Fall 2014 | 17

‘Time is tissue’ E

Henry County Hospital ‘deputizing’ people who take Early Heart Attack Care program

very 25 seconds in America, it happens to someone. There were more than 715,000 of them last year. Heart attacks have become public health enemy No. 1, responsible for approximately one out of every four deaths in the United States. When one occurs, there is no time to waste. That’s why Henry County Hospital has been busy in recent months with a program to “deputize” as many people as possible, training an army of everyday people EARLY HEART with basic knowledge of ATTACK symptoms of and what to do WARNING if they suspect someone is having a heart attack. For local SIGNS: businesses, it’s an opportunity l  Nausea l  Pain that travels down to promote wellness and one or both arms – equally important – l  Jaw pain preparedness in the workplace. l Fatigue l  Anxiety “This is a terrific initiative l  Chest pressure, that might very well save squeezing/discomfort l  A burning in the chest lives,” said Missy Modesitt, l  Back pain Executive Director of the New l  Shortness of breath Castle-Henry County Chamber l Feeling of fullness l  Weakness, sweating of Commerce. “I can see every and dizziness member in the Chamber taking advantage of this.” EHAC – or Early Heart Attack Care – is a campaign intended to educate everyone about early symptoms of a heart attack in order to prevent the heart attack from ever occurring. The program also is a plea to the public to be responsible, not only for themselves, but for those


around them who may be experiencing early heart attack symptoms, and to help them obtain immediate treatment. An online training course is available at the hospital’s website, www.hcmhcares.org. It provides basic information about heart attack warning signs and how to react if a heart attack is suspected. Every minute that goes by represents a life slipping away. “We’re getting the word out,” said Kris Manning, the hospital’s emergency room director. “Time is tissue. If it is a heart attack, it’s very important to get the blocked artery open again as soon as possible. Within two hours of a heart attack, heart muscle death start to occur. Once that muscle dies, it is never regenerated.” Because about 50 percent of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside of a hospital, it’s important to know not only the warning signs of a heart attack, but what you can do to help someone survive it. Manning said a survey revealed only 27 percent of respondents were aware of heart attack symptoms and to call 911 for help.  Manning said people may be reluctant to call 911 but said it is crucial to seek care immediately if a heart attack is suspected. “They shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask for help or let someone call 911 for them,” Manning said. “They should not drive themselves to the hospital. The sooner they get medical attention, the better their chances of preventing major heart damage.” A certificate “deputizing” those successfully completing the Early Heart Attack Care program includes a Latin phrase that says it all – “Bis dat qui cito dat: He gives twice who gives promptly.” ■  


changing lives

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Citizen of the Year:

Cathy Hamilton, neighborhood transformer



ields of lavender, sunflowers and daylilies now thrive in “The Holler,” a section of New Castle once known for its blighted, abandoned houses.

“If you are going to have a dream, have one,” Cathy Hamilton said of the imaginative transformation of her family homestead. Hamilton, along with her husband Dennis and daughter Sarah, have brought new life to the neighborhood by converting the former eyesore into Millstone Farms and Gardens. “Good things are happening, but how do we become an even more livable community?” Hamilton said. Since moving back to her childhood home after a long career in education, Hamilton, founder of the educational consulting firm Cathy Hamilton and Associates, has worked to improve the quality of life in an area challenged by poverty. Her continued volunteer and service efforts recently earned her the Citizen of the Year Award by the New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce.

“I was so honored and humbled, but I feel like it is a collective award. There are so many people volunteering to make good things happen,” she said. Hamilton’s vision goes beyond a physical makeover. She has torn down dilapidated buildings to improve views, but she also has built up the area’s residents by helping to develop positive social programs, like the Hope Initiative. “I want every citizen to have dignity,” she said. Through her consulting work, Hamilton travels the country to coach educators on how to deal with the issues of generational poverty and the achievement gap in economically deprived communities. Her professional insight has been a valuable resource for her local volunteer work. “I want this to be the best place in the world to live, whether you are poor, disabled or elderly. If we do the right thing for everyone who lives here, we can’t help but be a great place to live,” she said. Hamilton measures her achievements in small ways, like the smile on her daughter’s face. “It’s an amazing community. People are kind to her. That would be her No. 1 reason for wanting to be here,” she said. “We have created a place that is peaceful, productive and inviting.” Life has blossomed in “The Holler,” where generations of Hamilton’s family struggled to make ends meet. On a recent afternoon, Hamilton watched a group of finely dressed woman arrive for a social tea at the farm’s cottage. “I’m thankful that folks have noticed the change,” she said. “My grandmother would thoroughly enjoy what has happened.” ■ Cathy Hamilton, far left, accepts a congratulatory hug from Ruth Hayworth during the New CastleHenry County Chamber of Commerce dinner.


‘If we need to change something, we just do it. It doesn’t have to go through layers of vice presidents at a city 16 hours away.’ - John Mongtomery, far right, with Paul Fabrick.


Business of the Year: New Castle’s Montgomery’s Steakhouse J STORY BY DOUG GRUSE

ohn Montgomery had a lot to learn.

Although he had no restaurant experience, a real estate investment in 2011 led to him opening Montgomery’s Steakhouse in Spiceland. It was initiation by grill. “It was not even organized chaos. The first few months I kept questioning what I had gotten myself into,” Montgomery said. “As a consumer, you don’t know what restaurants have to go through – licenses, requirements and health codes. It’s an enormous task just to bring you a cheeseburger and a Coors Light.” When the New Castle Chamber of Commerce recently named Montgomery’s Steakhouse Business of the Year, Montgomery was in disbelief. “It was shocking. For us to win that award from where we had come from was just stunning,” he said. Although Montgomery started out knowing little about the business, he did know a lot about people. He made a point of talking with his customers and his staff. “They were not shy,” he said with a laugh. Instead of taking negative comments to heart, he worked to fix the problems. “It’s an uphill battle when you are competing against chains. But we have the advantage of flexibility. If we need to change something, we just do it. It doesn’t have to go through layers of vice presidents at a city 16 hours away,” Montgomery said. The restaurant staff feels like an important part of the

equation, according to Paul Fabrick, vice president of operations. “The difference between today and day one is that we are a lot smarter than we were three years ago,” Fabrick said. “We listened to the community and our guests, and we delivered to them what they wanted. We took suggestions and criticisms and effected immediate change.” The restaurant’s diverse menu has grown to include sandwiches, seafood and pasta dishes, but Montgomery swears by his certified Angus beef. “You’ll have the best steak you’ve ever had. I assure it,” he said. The 12,000-square-foot facility, with two banquet rooms and an outdoor patio, has become a hub of activity for Henry County. With karaoke nights and live band concerts, the venue manages to attract business from across the region. “Once we get a customer here, we don’t push them out the door. We encourage them to stick around,” Montgomery said. “A lot of times they’ll end up out on the patio and have a couple of beers.” Montgomery never had doubts that the place would be a hit. “The reason we have been as successful as we have been is that we didn’t know what we didn’t know. We didn’t know it was supposed to be hard,” he said. “There was no thought that we wouldn’t succeed.” ■ CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Fall 2014 | 21


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henry county

by the numbers


Population estimates by age: 2013 Age 45-64



Other: 3.1%

Age 0-4:

Living alone:


Age 5-17


Other: 3.1% Single parents: 8.9%





Age 45-64


Married with children:

• U.S. Census Bureau • Bureau of Economic Analysis • American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates • New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation

Family households:

12,834 68.5%



49,044 47,369



► Henry County was created on December 31, 1821 from the Delaware New Purchase. The county was officially organized June 1, 1822.

► Henry County was the birthplace of

► The city tree is the Golden Raintree,

Average household size: 2.63 Average family household size: 3.84


is 391.9 square miles with a population per square mile of about 125 people.

aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright.

Population over time 50,000

► The geographical area of Henry county Virginia patriot Patrick Henry, who is famous for the line, “Give me liberty or give me death!”


Median age in 2013: 42.4

Castle, which is also the largest city with an estimated population of 17,805 in 2012.

► Henry County was named in honor of

Married, no children:


s o u r c e s

6,057 31.8%



Age 25-44

► The county seat of Henry County is New Non-family households:


Age 18-24


fast facts

Total households in 2012: 18,741

based on The Legend of the Raintree: “Legendary Johnny Appleseed wandered the Midwest carrying among his apple seeds a single, exotic seed from the golden raintree. Looking for a place where it would flourish and grow, he planted it somewhere in Henry County. Legend has it that those who find the raintree discover the realization of all dreams.” From Ross Lockridge’s historical novel and movie, Raintree County, which is set in Henry County.

► Hoosier Manufacturing Company made 1990

24 | CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Fall 2014





popular and still prized collectible kitchen cabinets between 1900-1920 in New Castle. More than 700,000 cabinets were sold.

henry county

by the numbers

income & education high school gymnasium ► inThethelargest entire world is in the New Castle Fieldhouse at New Castle High School, boasting a capacity is 9,235.


► New Castle has produced many


► New Castle is home to the Indiana


basketball stars including College AllAmerican and NBA players Kent Benson and Steve Alford.

Per capita income over time $28,896 $26,340


racing’s most popular tracks, New Castle Motorsports Park. The track is owned by former IRL driver Mark Dismore.

Top 5 employers in Henry County



► In New Castle’s Baker Park, you’ll find






a Native American mound that is approximately 2000 years old.



Educational attainment in 2012 Total population age 25 and older: 34,774


18.9% 5,000



4.7% 0

Less than ninth grade 1,642

9th-12th, no diploma 3,619

Median family income (2012): $51,209


Basketball Hall of Fame.

► New Castle is home to one of kart


H.S. grad. Some college, (incl. equiv.) no degree 15,557 6,582

Assoc. degree 2,481


Henry County Hospital New Castle Community School Corporation Geo Group: New Castle Correctional Facility Draper Inc.


TS Tech Indiana, LLC

Bach. Grad./profess./ doct. degree degree 1,671 3,202

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Muncie: (765) 289-6373 Sulphur Springs: (765) 533-4888 CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Fall 2014 | 25

M emor i al Da y Festival and parade


lear blue skies greeted the Henry County community for the 2014 Memorial Day Festival and Parade. Famous Henry County son Steve Alford was the parade’s Grand Marshall, and the Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders were on hand to meet and greet festival-goers. It was a great day packed with family fun, vendors and great food!

Photos by David Nantz Nantz Photography

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Profile for The JMetzger Group

Chamber Magazine: New Castle/Henry Co., Indiana; Fall 2014  

This twice-yearly publication is the voice of the New Castle/Henry County Chamber of Commerce in Indiana. The October 2014 edition offers a...

Chamber Magazine: New Castle/Henry Co., Indiana; Fall 2014  

This twice-yearly publication is the voice of the New Castle/Henry County Chamber of Commerce in Indiana. The October 2014 edition offers a...