BEECH GROVE, Ind. (July 31, 2015) -- This morning “Your Town Friday” is heading to Beech Grove! You’ll find the Marion County community just a short miles miles southeast of downtown Indy! The city dates back to the 19th century and today has a population of just over 14,000. Beech Grove really didn’t start booming until the early 20th century and a few of the city’s original businesses still exist today!
“There used to be probably 70,000 shoe repair shops in the country. I think now there are less than 6,000 left; they are very few and far between. People come from all over the city and state because of the work we do and they know they’re going to get a good price and we’re going to treat them right,” said Jim Coffman, owner of Eckstein Shoe Store & Repair.
The store opened back in 1923, when it was called Kennedy Shoe Store. In the 1950s the Eckstein family bought the business and just a few years ago Jim Coffman's family took over.
“We decided to keep the name Eckstein Shoes because it’s a name that’s been out there for so long so we didn’t want to change that. Our main thing is shoe sales. We sell a lot of shoes made in the USA like New Balance and SAS out of San Antonio. New Balance is from Massachusetts and they come in all widths and sizes…to very small feet to long and wide and also narrow feet as well. We also have a full service shoe repair shop. It’s kind of evolved. It started out as just shoes and now it’s purses, bags, luggage and belts. My sister Mary can stitch just about anything that comes in, whether it’s leather, vinyl or a fabric material,” Jim said.
Jim says they can repair or replace most things so it’s worth it to bring it in and have them take a look.
“Something as simple as a ladies heel, we can fix it and make it like new for less than $10,” he said.
Just a few blocks down Main Street is another Beech Grove staple that has continued to serve the community for many years.
“It was very small at the time, maybe 20 tables at the very most and it was more pizza and spaghetti than anything else,” said Antoinette Pizzi, owner of Napoli Villa.
Antoinette Pizzi and her family are originally from southern Italy. Her parents opened up Napoli Villa back in 1962. Over the years they’ve expanded the restaurant and their menu.
“Of course spaghetti is the number one sale. The meatballs are superb. They tell us we have the best meatballs in the state and lasagna is very well known. We have all different kinds of chicken and our chicken and veal can be prepared same way like chicken piccata, marsala, scaloppini and caruso. Not only is our food authentic, it’s prepared by order and we have consistency and excellent service,” said Antoinette.
“My sister-in-law Ashlee and I decided we wanted to open a business here in Beech Grove that we didn’t already have. There is nothing like us here in the city and we both have a love for doing hair and a passion for fashion,” said Aimee Holsclaw, co-owner of Harlow Rouge Couture.
Holsclaw and Ashlee Hicks opened Harlow Rouge Couture in downtown Beech Grove last September.
“We actually have really good tank tops that start at $6 and range up to high priced $44 nice cardigans. Our dresses are $38-$42. It’s really unique items that you can’t walk into the mall and pick up there. We don’t want somebody to go to Sears and be able to find the same thing that they can find at our store. So really unique items, quality items and something you won’t see someone wearing on the street,” said Aimee.
And Aimee says something else you won’t find at a bigger store--personal attention and styling advice.
“We’re really good at making people feel beautiful even when they don’t. A lot of women come in here and they need a dress for a wedding or birthday and they say I don’t wear dresses or fancy stuff and they don’t feel good about themselves. That’s part of the experience you’re not going to get at the mall but you’re going to get it here,” said Aimee.
Just next door you'll find another fashion boutique! This one is geared towards little girls.
“I started it on May 1st. I started it to get original clothing out to little kids, you want to dress your kids in stuff that nobody else has so it makes it a little more fun. I want it to be fashion that you can’t find at Walmart or Target. I want it to be something that’s original but looks cute and high fashion for the little ones too,” said Nadja GoHeen, owner of Tiny Tots Couture.
Nadja GoHeen opened Tiny Tots Couture just three months ago and loves the reaction from customers when they walk into her shop.
“Oh, this store is so cute!” said Nadja.
She has a variety of items like beachwear and casualwear, also fancy dresses and all kinds of accessories.
“I think it’s like, oh, look at my cute little one, the dresses with the fancy lace with the accessories and hair bows necklaces, little bracelets, that kind of stuff. It makes it fun for the little girl to dress up and the mom to dress the little girl,” said Nadja.