Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Five downtown stores coordinate Thursday promotion
Posted on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Feb. 5, 2013 at 5:47 p.m.

ELKHART — More than four decades ago, the corner of Main Street and West Lexington Avenue in downtown Elkhart oozed coolness.

Partly Dave’s Coffee House became a magnet as a gathering spot and served as the epicenter for Elkhart’s of hipster crowd.

It was a moment in time straddling 1969 that was 110 percent organic and spurred an art festival that took root in the nearby alleys and side streets, helping to further fuel a sense of community.

Today, five store owners who inhabit store fronts in that same immediate area, said they know they can never recreate that atmosphere. And that’s not their goal.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t believe there a little vibe of sorts among the businesses that could help spur some business.

With that sense of history, store owners Eric Zell of Elk River Upcycle, Nanci Wirt of n.wirt design, Doni Funkhouser of Mod Closet, Bethza Seminario of Bethza Professional Makeup Studio and Abby Thomas of Poodle’s Boutique, want to see more events like ArtWalk happening in the downtown business district.

While they’re pleased with the excitement generated by ArtWalk and other downtown promotions, they are eager to see more and have organized a simple one-night event Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

It’s geared around Valentines Day and each of the stores will have sales specials.

Poodles features ladies’ fashions, Mod Closet is a vintage clothing and décor store and Bethza is a professional makeup studio.

Two other businesses encompass one storefront. Elk River Upcycle and n.wirt design, are located at 205 S. Main St., just south of the other stores.

Elk River Upcycle takes what might have been otherwise tossed into the landfill and repurposes the materials with a new and decorative appeal. Zell’s portion of the store encompasses the lower level while n.wirt design, which specializes in interior design, uses much of the upstairs and some of the lower level.

Both Zell and Wirt said they’ve noticed their customers have a crossover in tastes between their stores.

“We’re just a group of small businesses that are working together to bring people downtown,” Wirt said.

Along with sales specials, Elk River Upcycle will feature the work of artist Julie Manfredi.

Bethza, which is located on the southwest corner of the intersection where the old coffee shop once stood, will feature live models and a professional photo shoot.