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After nearly a year, the renovations on the Historic Mills House are complete. During that year, owner Todd Anthony and his crew toiled for endless hours restoring the home to its former glory. The labor of love involved a lot more repairs than expected, and the end result was far beyond what he ever dreamed.

6  Elf on the Shelf in Center Grove 8  Business Spotlight: Clint Heisler

17 Special Delivery: Local Couple

11 Built to Last: Local Entrepreneur

20 Meet Pacemate Aria Baird: Center

Northwestern Mutual

Finishes Renovations to Historic Mills House


The Center Grove Magazine is published by Towne Post Network, Inc. and is written for and by local Center Grove residents. Submit story ideas to

TOWNE POST NETWORK, INC. 8800 North Street, Suite 117, Fishers, IN 46038 Phone / Fax: 317-810-0011

Refurbishes Historic Post Office Into RFD Franklin Restaurant Grove Alum Recalls 19-Year Dance Journey / DECEMBER 2019 / CENTER GROVE MAGAZINE / 5

Greenwood Magazine and Center Grove Magazine want to help ring in the holidays! You can be the lucky winner of a prize from each of these local businesses! Each day, Black Friday through December 20, visit any or all of these businesses to find the Elf. Take a selfie with the Elf, post it on your Facebook page, tag that business and Center Grove Magazine or Greenwood Magazine and you are officially entered to win a prize from that business! Winners will be announced just after Christmas. Keep watching our Facebook pages for daily updates. It’s really that easy – a selfie with the Elfie.

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CLINT HEISLER | NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL 965 Emerson Pkwy, Ste. I Greenwood, IN 46143 P: 317-215-8336 F: 317-215-8360 W:

“Our mission is to improve lives by clarifying values and aligning actions.”

Writer / Julie Yates Photography Provided

by strategically planning, not just by beating a speculative index benchmark.”

The goal for Clint Heisler, financial advisor for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, is to provide his clients with integrated financial plans tailored for all life stages.

Previously residing from Fort Wayne, he relocated when he married his wife Britney in 2015. The couple chose Center Grove, Britney’s hometown, as the place they wished to live and raise a family. Britney, an ’09 Center Grove graduate, is a popular Instagram influencer with more than 24,000 followers who documents the joys of raising their two daughters Mila and Capri. The Instagram handle for her fun and lighthearted feed is @britneyalyse.

“I believe a financial plan should be holistic, meaning I don’t see insurance or investments as ancillary pieces, I believe they should work together as complements, not competitors,” he says. “Investments are extremely important, but I’ve found I can help my clients accomplish more objectives

Through the experience of raising his

own family, Heisler knows firsthand the importance of planning for the financial demands of the future. However, he also understands the challenges of getting to and through retirement. He believes a strong financial plan should include both offensive and defensive strategies. “I’ve found that the people of our community here in Center Grove have many of the same questions and concerns I’ve been helping my clients address over the past decade,” Heisler says. “For many individuals, these questions or concerns tend to relate to having enough resources to fund their children’s educations and/ or retiring with dignity on their terms, not the stock market’s. Many clients want to know and understand how their investment portfolio(s) should be adapting to changing tax laws or market volatility as one is unlikely to expect cooperative tax legislation and continuous bull markets for 30-plus consecutive years in retirement. “Just as importantly, many clients want to have an intentional plan in regards to what would happen should something tragic such as a premature death, disability or long-term care event occur. For business owners, these same questions and concerns tend to exist. I’ve found these people face unique planning challenges in addition to the preceding topics such as attracting and retaining talented employees or leveraging the value of their business to accomplish both their short-term objectives, as well as their long-term goals such as retirement. Whether it’s personal or business planning, my team and I, along with the support of a Fortune 100 company’s experience and resources, are equipped and prepared to


communities while learning to balance those demands with the demands of continuing to be a devoted husband and father, the latter two roles being the most important of course!” Call Clint Heisler at 317-215-8336 to schedule an appointment or visit online at

put together an integrated plan to bring clarity to the questions that keep you up at night.” In a nutshell, Heisler likens financial planning to the Colts in the early 2000s. “We were all offense and very little defense which made us good, but not great as evidenced by our consistent poor performance in the playoffs during those years,” he says. “However, in the 2006 season when we had a league leading offense and a Top 10 ranked defense, that was the year we won the Super Bowl. The GM identified the team’s areas for improvement and crafted a plan to fulfill the gaps. And that’s what I do for my clients. I want to be their family’s financial GM. I want to put my client in the “owner’s suite” while I work diligently to help clarify values and align actions through an integrated plan. My goal for my clients is to provide them both financial security and choices in the best seasons of their lives and in the worst seasons of their lives.”

Outside of work and raising a family, the Heisler family is involved both within and outside the community. A real passion is the work they do in Kitale, Kenya. They are actively involved in a non-profit called The Mighty Acorns, which serves the needs of a group of children and pastors at the Seeds Orphanage.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Clint Heisler is an Insurance Agent of NM and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI, (long-term care insurance) a subsidiary of NM, and a Registered Representative of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (securities), a subsidiary of NM, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA and SIPC). Representative of Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company®, Milwaukee, WI (fiduciary and fee-based financial planning services), a subsidiary of NM and federal savings bank.

“Kitale has become particularly special for me and my family as we have become very closely involved with a young boy named Rodgers,” he says. “I met Rodgers in 2014 during my first visit to Kenya. Because of our family’s decision to support him. He now has a home with 220 other brothers and sisters in the Seeds Orphanage we helped build. We have since bonded in ways that go far beyond the typical sponsorship of a child and consider him an extended part of our family and I look forward to reconnecting with him on my third trip planned for the summer of 2020.” As for the future, Heisler says, “Right now I’m focused on building my practice in Center Grove and the surrounding / DECEMBER 2019 / CENTER GROVE MAGAZINE / 9

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LOCAL ENTREPRENEUR FINISHES RENOVATIONS TO HISTORIC MILLS HOUSE Writer / Suzanne Huntzinger . Photographer / JWcreative.indy

After nearly a year, the renovations on the Historic Mills House are complete. During that year, owner Todd Anthony and his crew toiled for endless hours restoring the home to its former glory. The labor of love involved a lot more repairs than expected, and the end result was far beyond what he ever dreamed. The long process involved repairing and restoring the roof, badly damaged from lack of proper drainage. Anthony and his crew devoted an enormous amount of time restoring and enhancing the landscape in order to preserve Ernie Mills’ (the original owner of the home) vision to reflect a connection with nature.

period, Anthony put painstaking effort into meticulously restoring special features in the home. From the simple and subtle entrance via a three feet wide door that opens to a light, airy space that expands as you go, the home oozes mid-century modern cool. “It’s the opposite of modern design that pulls you in with the grand façade on the outside only to reveal a smaller and simpler interior,” Anthony says. Among the many gems throughout the home is a vintage 1950s princess style television. “I found it at the Southport Antique Mall,” Anthony says. “I couldn’t resist it.”

Also irresistible was the rocket-shaped “Ernie’s vision was to incorporate a blending trashcan by the kitchen table which of indoors and outdoors. We’ve done that Anthony found online. with the gardens,” Anthony says. “I included something in each room that Following his mission to preserve the was period-specific along with something historical integrity of the home and the time modern but in retro style, making it relevant

for all generations,” he says. The iconic Terrazzo flooring throughout the home was repaired and restored. When Anthony inspected the flooring, he surprisingly found just one small area where the natural stone was chipped. Miraculously, he found a manufacturer who was able to match the exact style, color and dye lot. Made in Germany, the iconic egg-shaped lamps illuminating the stairs leading to the lower level were cleaned and restored to give off an even glow and a truly authentic look. Anthony ensured an authentic look in the kitchen and bath areas as well. He ordered new Kitchen Aid appliances and had them re-skinned with a retro design, classic to the time period. Instead of installing modern toilets and sinks in the bathrooms, the fixtures were restored. In fact, the tile in the master bath was custom color-matched to the existing fixtures. / DECEMBER 2019 / CENTER GROVE MAGAZINE / 11

Sure to be a hot topic of conversation about the house is the wallpaper in the master bathroom, Anthony’s way of adding his own personal thumbprint to the restored home. With a green foliage patterned design to match the bathroom’s 1950s era green fixtures, the wallpaper is a replica of the wallpaper in Frank Sinatra’s secret room in his Palm Springs home. The “secret room” is the location where JFK and Marilyn Monroe were rumored to have met. The Frank Lloyd Wright boardroom features an iconic conference table. A serendipitous find for Anthony, this Frank Lloyd Wright table now in the former master bedroom of the home, was part of FLW’s furniture line. As an extension of his architecture designs, the famous architect developed a furniture design as he began to dabble in interior design. The table was custom made for the Dutch National Bank. While researching furniture online, Anthony found the gem advertised for sale by the Dutch National Bank. Without hesitation, he purchased the table and had it shipped from the Netherlands to Greenwood, Indiana.

“Who better to bring in on this project than the son of the original architect of the home,” he says.

“Todd and his team of relentless workers have done a phenomenal job on restoring the original details of the house and in many cases improving upon them,” Bill says. “It has brought a lot of joy to our family to see the home reused as a conference center honoring my late father Harry Cooler. It is a real honor to have worked with such a detail-oriented and capable person such as Todd. This structure will now live on for “It’s authentic,” he says. “It’s stamped the next 50 years giving new purpose to the and numbered. It came with risers that “When I started this project, I set out City of Greenwood and to all its residents. were customized to accommodate the simply to save a house and it turned into a I look forward to sharing its new and characteristically tall Dutchmen.” story,” Anthony says. “I knew nothing about improved attributes.” the Mills family and nothing about Harry Perhaps one of the most special touches Cooler. I started researching and the history To make the railings, Anthony brought to the renovation is the railings added to unfolded in front of me.” in high profile metal fabricator Bo-Mar the upper level of the house. Though the Industries out of Beech Grove. The original home did not feature railings, they Anthony admits a penchant for Frank Lloyd company’s custom metal artwork has were required for general safety and to meet been part of projects locally like Lucas Oil Wright style architecture and the time period. code standards. Anthony tapped Bill Cooler, Stadium and worldwide at Disney. son of the home’s architect, Harry Cooler, to “It’s a generation I can really connect with,” design the railings. he says. “The period of prosperity and The enormous renovation project required the help of not only contractors but friends idyllic lifestyle are encapsulated here.” Dozens have shared comments about their and family. Many items were taken offsite connection to the house or the Mills family. and cleaned up at home. “There have been so many coincidences, connections made across generations and state lines, and memories shared about this house,” Anthony adds. “It’s all simply amazing. We’ve come into this project at the perfect time because these people are still around. So much has happened since Ernie Mills built the house and yet people are still sharing memories of cocktail parties and From start to finish, the surprises flooded in. other events at the house.” “Even my mom took some things home and cleaned them up,” Anthony says. “So many people were involved in this project from contractors, landscapers to friends and family. It was a fun and meaningful project for everyone and each one of them said they knew they were involved in something special.”


No one had more special memories to share than Ernie and Edith Mills’ daughter, Susan Mills England. Readers may remember she reached out from Ann Arbor, Michigan when a friend shared details about the first article in the series. She shared countless memories and a goldmine of photos from her father’s personal photo album. Many of those photos were digitized and can be found on the Cooler Conference Center website. Anthony connected with Mills England and was thrilled to give her a personal tour.

PM. The 13th annual tour is primarily in the Homecroft/Southport/Greenwood area and attracts more than a thousand guests. Details can be found on In the meantime, Anthony encourages everyone to keep sharing their stories and their connections to keep memories alive. “I’m just delighted to be part of this historical gift that’s so unique to Greenwood and it’s going to be shared for generations to come,” he says.


“I was very happy to see that Todd is really ‘owning’ the restoration of my family’s home. He has spared no expense to ‘get it right’ and I love that,” Mills England says. “I’m sure my parents would be very pleased with his results.” Now that the project is complete, Anthony has finalized details for reservations. The Harry Cooler Conference Center will be used primarily as a business venue for conferences, banquets, fundraisers or corporate training and recognition events. Companies interested in exclusive memberships or sponsorships with the center are encouraged to visit the website for details about making reservations and pricing. Corporate members and sponsors will have priority access to the facility for events. Charitable organizations are also encouraged to inquire about planning their fundraising events at the center.

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exPerience You can Bank on. At the Indianapolis area’s largest locally owned national bank, our private bankers have an average of 15 years banking experience. Experience that results in unprecedented service, the rare authority to make prompt decisions and unique, innovative solutions to enhance your ultimate financial goals. So call Tricia Rake today at 317-261-9755. Because she doesn’t apply formulas to determine your financial success. She applies experience.

The Cooler Conference center will host open houses open to the public starting in January and many times throughout the year. Find details on the website along with links to all the social media pages. Fans of the Historic Mills House will be excited to know the house will be part of the Indiana Landmarks Back to the Future: A Mid-Century Modern Home Tour, May 30, 2020, from 1-6

Tricia Rake Vice President, Private Banker NMLS #473860 ©2019 The National Bank of Indianapolis

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Several years after the town of Franklin endured the 500-year flood of 2008, the city was trying to decide what to do with the old post office and former city hall that sits one block away from the downtown square and had not been in operation for a while. There was talk of making it into a city court or perhaps tearing it down to create a parking lot. But local residents, Lesa McDaniel Talley and John Talley, had a strong interest in historic preservation and a love of old architecture. “We wanted to do something where this beautiful stately structure would be open to the public and make it accessible so our community could come in and enjoy the atmosphere,” says Lesa, who obtained possession of the property in the fall of 2017.

The couple met with city leaders to gain support for a project to restore the historic building while creating a restaurant that would draw visitors to Franklin and create new jobs. They wished to feature a menu that would appeal to local and regional guests. The first order of business was renovating the space. “We were able to use the original blueprints in the county museum to assist us to faithfully restore the post office as much as possible,” Lesa says. “To make sure the project was feasible we interviewed and selected architects, contractors and engineers, made sure it was a project we thought we could do, then went back to the city with our more detailed proposal and went forth.”

The overhaul took about a year and a half to complete. They installed essentially all new electrical, new plumbing and a new heating and air conditioning system. They also removed the loading dock in back to obtain room to build a 1,500 square foot addition to put in a new kitchen, storage space and ADA compliant bathrooms. Also, they built a deck with an ADA ramp. Throughout the process, they remained sensitive to the historic nature of the building. The restaurant, which they named RFD Franklin, opened in May 2019. They chose the name because they wanted to pay homage to its roots as RFD is the rural free delivery system that was developed in the United States to deliver mail to people in the country. They also embraced the concept of “real food/fresh dining,” a wordplay with RFD. / DECEMBER 2019 / CENTER GROVE MAGAZINE / 17

Community response to the establishment has been highly favorable as folks indulge not only in delicious food but also the fun of relishing nostalgia. “People love to share their experiences in the building with us,” Lesa says. “They’ll say, ‘I remember coming here with my grandmother to pick up the mail,’ or ‘I worked here. It was my first job!’ They have very nice memories to share. People definitely have good feelings about the building.” Lesa isn’t surprised, she feels the same way.  “This is such an exceptional property,” she says. “This building occupies a prominent location in the city and a special place in the hearts of community members. Structures like this are not being built anymore. The main floor has high 14-foot ceilings and two skylights that reach to 23 feet tall with gears to open windows. It has great natural lighting. It’s just a very different architectural style from what you see nowadays.” John and Lesa used original postal artifacts to decorate the restaurant. For instance, two sets of almost 100 brass mailboxes make up the focal wall that hides the entrance to the kitchen. Those mailboxes came out of Madison, Wisconsin’s state capitol building. “It certainly adds to the ambiance,” Lesa says. “It’s something everyone notices and comments on when they come in.” The tile in the lobby is original, and they installed vintage colored tile in the addition to maintain the 1930s vibe. They sanded and sealed the original maple floor of the main dining room, too. The wainscoting along the walls is original as are the interior doors and brass hardware. The bathroom toilets and sinks are replicas from the time period.  The light in the vault took Lesa more than a year to find.   “It’s an original fixture of that age,” she says. “I wanted something to help make the vault feel like a special intimate dining space.”  She studied the blueprints when selecting the pendant lighting for the rest of the building.

“We tried to be as faithful to the period as we could,” she adds. Cuisine options in the scratch-made kitchen include steaks, seafood and pasta. “We bring in the various fresh fruits and vegetables, and we cut our steaks and our salmon in house,” says Lesa, noting that popular dishes include their fillets, the ginger-glazed salmon and their Crème brûlée. A customer commented that the Crème brûlée was the best he’d had since he’d been in Paris. “We also have a really good mac-ncheese that pleases both children and adults,” Lesa says. 

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Favorites at the full bar include the Infused Manhattan, Old Fashioned and Moscow Mule. They offer different specials daily and weekly, as well as a soup of the day. “That helps keep the menu interesting for both the staff and guests,” Lesa says. The restaurant, which currently seats 120 inside and 50 on the patio, also offers private dining in the postmaster’s office, which seats 12-14 and the vault, which seats four. Over the vault is a secret room called the Lookout Gallery.  “It was used by the postmaster or postal inspector to secretly view the activities on the work floor and monitor employees for compliance with all the requirements,” Lesa says. “There are secret passageways that lead to it.”

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If you’re looking to step back in time while enjoying a scrumptious meal, check out RFD Franklin. RFD Franklin, located at 55 W. Madison Street in Franklin, is open Tuesday-Thursday from 5-9 p.m., Friday from 5-10 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. for brunch and 5-10 p.m. for dinner. For more information, call 317-733-7333 or visit

317-261-1900 | | Indianapolis Not FDIC Insured – No Bank Guarantee – May Lose Value / DECEMBER 2019 / CENTER GROVE MAGAZINE / 19

©2019 Diamond Capital Management

CENTER GROVE ALUM RECALLS 19-YEAR DANCE JOURNEY Writer / Kevin Conrad Photography Provided

The lights and sounds of Ray Skillman Stadium and Vandermeer Gymnasium helped prepare Center Grove High School graduate Aria Baird for Banker’s Life Fieldhouse and her role as a Pacemate with the Indiana Pacers. The 2015 alumna has been dancing for 19 years and is in her third season as a Pacemate.

Baird began dancing at the age of three with tumbling and moved into competitive cheer when she was six. She was a member of the Center Grove High School Varsity Dance Team from 2011-2015. She says the Dance Team taught her how to be a teamoriented dancer. “I used to be very focused on myself and how I danced and then being a part of a team made me realize that if one of us sticks

out, everything looks off,” she says. Baird’s high school dance coach, Hannah Mueller, saw greatness in Baird. “Right away, I knew she was going to be a huge asset for the team,” Mueller says. “She was already an accomplished gymnast and dancer, so I was able to utilize both in team routines.”


“Hannah helped me a lot with growing as a dancer, encouraging me to learn new techniques and tricks,” Baird recalls. “She also taught me how to be a part of a team and really appreciate and learn from the other dancers around me.” Baird says she loved her four glorious years with the CG Varsity Dance Team. “I have several fond memories of being on the CG dance team,” she says. “One of them was winning state with my duet partner my senior year. I loved dancing for CG because I was always dancing with my best friends. To this day, my three closest friends are the ones I danced with on the CG Dance Team.” Baird recalls her emotions while waiting to find out if she made the squad after her first tryout with the Pacemates. “I was so nervous sitting in the locker room waiting for my named to be called,” she says. “It felt like forever. When I heard my name called, I couldn’t help but cry because I was so happy and excited. I knew at that moment that all my years of practicing, dancing, the pain and work I went through paid off. “Being a Pacemate is a lot of fun, but there is a lot of hard work that goes into it,” Baird adds. “We typically learn a new dance and then practice dances we learned from previous practices. We also have appearances that we go to for events. When the actual season starts, we are also at every home game. It’s a lot of physical work, and it can be hard on your body, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

there were a 6th star, he’d get it. Mike is an absolute professional and was “Ifalways thinking two steps ahead of us. His attention to detail and responsiveness to any and all questions made for a very enjoyable transaction. If you have any real estate needs look no further. Thank you Mike. – Anthony E.

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Call a local expert; Greenwood resident for 38 years, full time real estate professional for 36 years. / DECEMBER 2019 / CENTER GROVE MAGAZINE / 21

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Our vision for the future of health care in Johnson County is about to become reality. Soon we’ll be opening a new state-of-the-art emergency department and outpatient services building, totally reshaping the east side of our Franklin campus. It’s a patient-focused future, with shorter wait times, easier access and the compassionate care you’ve come to expect from Johnson County’s only full-service hospital.

The future is in sight, and our vision is 2020.









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Center Grove Magazine December 2019  

After nearly a year, the renovations on the Historic Mills House are complete. During that year, owner Todd Anthony and his crew toiled for...

Center Grove Magazine December 2019  

After nearly a year, the renovations on the Historic Mills House are complete. During that year, owner Todd Anthony and his crew toiled for...

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