Editor’s note: The story has been edited to reflect the tentative nature of future plans at 205 S. Main St. and the uncertain departure date of Nancy Wirt and Eric Zell, the current tenants there.
ELKHART — A handful of businesses are shuffling up the mix in Elkhart’s downtown business district and shoppers can gets a glimpse of the changes beginning Wednesday, Dec. 11.
The Black Crow on Main, 224 S. Main St., will be home to 25 carefully selected vendors who sell new and used furniture and home decor that has been refurbished and restyled, said Peter Recchio, who will operate the business with his wife, Dawn.
The store will celebrate its grand opening Wednesday when it serves as ArtWalk’s temporary headquarters where people can vote for their favorite pieces of art displayed downtown.
The roughly 8,000-square-foot space was most recently the home of the Elkhart Community Farmers Market.
Tom Langley operated the market for the past two years. The market’s Facebook page included a post indicating it closed for the season in late October.
Langley could not be reached for comment.
Recchio said he and his wife plan to remodel store space below The Black Crow and use it as a farmer’s market under the new name, Elkhart City Farmer’s Market. Vendors will sell vegetables, fruit, homemade jellies and jams and baked treats, he said.
Recchio said they hope to add a cafe connected to the Black Crow in January that will serve coffee, tea and sweets.
CHANGES TO 205 S. MAIN
Another move involves the shared space of n.wirt design and Elk River Upcycle, which has operated at 205 S. Main St. for nearly two years.
Nancy Wirt, who specializes in interior design, and Eric Zell, who specializes in refurbished, salvaged materials and decor, plan to relocate to a nearby downtown location, according to Wirt. Wirt plans to buy the new location, but details have yet to be finalized and she isn’t certain when the move will take place.
Dan Boecher, owner of 205 S. Main St., isn’t sure what exactly will become of the first-floor and basement space, once vacated by Wirt and Zell. He’ll make more definitive plans once they move.
But he’s considering some sort of artistic endeavor — space for art classes, maybe — and in brainstorming with Steve Gruber, spokesman for Downtown Elkhart Inc., has come up with a tentative name for the locale should the artistic proposal prevail, Arts on Main. Indeed, renovations are underway to the second floor space, to be converted into eight studios for artists, Boecher said, and he hopes they open by mid-February.
The second-floor space is “very much a construction site,” Boecher said. He plans to provide tours of the area to those who are interested during ArtWalk on Wednesday.
LAUNCHED ON MAIN STREET
Meanwhile, Recchio is not new to running a business and is excited about being part of the downtown business district.
“I got my start on Main Street many, many, many years ago,” Recchio said. “I loved it then and I’ve always loved it since, so Dawn and I wanted to do something to enhance the downtown area, our little part in the downtown resurgence into a retail district.”
He was one of the original owners of the Hart City Resale Mall on S.R. 19.
Recchio wanted to open the new business in a building with a central location and “a great deal of character,” which led him to downtown Elkhart.
Downtown, he said, was once the “epicenter of retail business.”
“We wanted to give the community a place to go to shop for products of all kinds without having to specifically shop for new, and that’s the Hart City story,” he said. “As Hart City developed, Dawn especially felt there was a specific niche that she would like to get involved with, and that is strictly the furniture and home decor end of this, so we started the Black Crow.”