Zionsville retail landscape undergoing change

Published: .
Updated: .

Zionsville is known for its brick streets, restaurants and art galleries. Some of those places are now displaying closed signs.

The last gas station on Main Street has been torn down. A longtime family-owned store sits empty with a for lease sign out front. Just a few blocks a away, another sign announces more retail space is available.

"There is always a period of time when, four, five or six places will be empty, but they always got filled up really quick," says Brian Wright. "It does concern me."

Wright worked alongside his father Harold for decades, operating B. Wright Ltd., a clothing store. They endured fashion trends and fades, but this economy has taken a toll. "I can not stay here that much longer. If I'm still here in February and this place has not gotten leased out, I will do one last prom." It will be his 40th prom season. Wright will then close the store for the last time.

Two doors down, you'll see another for lease sign, but the circumstances are different.

"To be a mother to my son, something has to go," says Jane Nolting, the owner of Plums Restaurant. It is the pressure and the successes of two busy restaurants that is forcing her to close one.  She's hoping to spend more time with her son during his senior year in high school.

Restaurants seem to be stable, according to Andy Brogden, owner of the Village Clock Shop. "I think the economy has taken it toll everywhere. I still think people like to treat themselves to something and I think that is where the restaurants have reaped that reward."

Business not lost to Internet shopping and the economy have had to fight retail expansion in Carmel and strip mall centers less than a mile away, according to Brogden. "Take Clay Terrace, for example. It is beautiful. Music is playing. It is prim, it is proper. You come to Zionsville and it doesn't quite look like that, and people expect that," said Brogden.

The Zionsville Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director who is working to bring new ideas and business back to Main Street. Other merchants tell Eyewitness News that, aside from the economy, the changes in Zionsville are part of a transformation of the town.