Today is Black Friday but it’s also “Your Town Friday!” This morning we are headed to Bloomington. You’ll find the Monroe County Community about 50 miles southwest of downtown Indy.
When you think of Bloomington you may immediately think of Indiana University. Maybe you went there or maybe you have friends that attended. But Bloomington is much more than a college town. The city was established back in 1818 and is known as the “gateway to scenic southern Indiana.” But if you stay right in Bloomington, you’ll find a number of independent, locally owned shops.
A new one that just opened up on the B-line trail is Hopscotch Coffee. Owner Jane Kupersmith says Bloomington was ready for a new coffee venue and their product is much different than what you’ll find at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.
“In terms of the coffee proper we have really ethically sourced coffee, everything I buy is fair trade and organic, I’m not certified fair trade and organic, I’m working on that as a processor, but the supplies that I buy, are. We serve all organic milk, our syrups are prepared locally by a soda bar, our baked goods are made local and delivered fresh every day so it’s a real community effort,” said Kupersmith.
Jane says the coffee is great and the espresso is even better! They also have organic teas grown at a tea farm in Michigan, they make veggie and fruit smoothies and they have items for the kids as well. If you need a jolt of caffeine or a fresh baked muffin, Hopscotch is convenient and centrally located right in downtown Bloomington.
“We’re located on the B-line trail which is one of Bloomington’s newest park developments. It connects 3.1 miles right in downtown Bloomington so you can easily park at Hopscotch and walk downtown and the see the courthouse square or you can walk south and see more wilder natural side of Bloomington in what will be the Switchyard Park,” said Kupersmith.
Nestled inside downtown Bloomington’s Fountain Square Mall is Gather Handmade Shoppe and Company. Owner Talia Halliday wanted to give Midwestern artists a permanent place to sell their handcrafted items.
“Work from over 150 artists from all over the Midwest, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, and it’s all different. You will have never seen it before in Bloomington. We’re exclusive so you can’t find these monster bags or onesies at any other store in Bloomington. We’re a little quirky and funky! We’re modern handmade!” said Halliday.
Talia says everything is truly one-of-a-kind and every piece has a story behind it.
“Not only are you supporting me as a local woman owned business but you are supporting these artists who are your neighbors, your friends, moms at the school you go to and the money stays in this community,” said Halliday.
You’ll find jewelry, decorations, Indiana love items, clothing, prints, woodwork, kid’s items and much more. Gather also features a gallery wall that changes out every other month and they hold classes in the back.
“Painting classes, book binding classes, scarf classes, we have a Polymer clay class, where little kids can come in and make little snowmen out of Polymer clay and make ornaments,” said Halliday.
Just a few blocks away is Alison Zook’s A.Z. Vintage shop.
“The Bloomington community is great, there are a lot of vintage shops, and we all work together as a network. I carry a wide range of clothing, housewares and furniture pieces. I focus on the 1950’s and 60’s. In furniture, I carry 50’s through 70’s. In my clothing, I carry 40’s through early 90’s, so we have a little something for everybody,” said Zook.
Alison also carries some modern gift pieces and the super popular Lil Bub merchandise, Bloomington’s local celebrity. Also inside A.Z. Vintage another friendly face!
“Here at A.Z. Vintage we have a special employee and that is our shop cat Biscuit. She’s a beautiful 8 year old tortoise shell and she’s always happy to greet customers and entertain folks as they shop!” said Zook.