East Main Street continues to evolve
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 9:02 PM
The next time you drive or walk down East Main Street in Crawfordsville, check out the large photo Joe Sadowski has placed in the window of his business, Joseph Marion Capital Management, in the 100 block of East Main. According to the label, it was taken in the early 1960s and shows a far different East Main Street from the one we see today.
There is Resoner's Jewelry Store, which about that time was home to WCVL radio (no FM stations) on the second floor.
By the time I moved into the apartment above Bob and Sally Remley's Fashion Shoes on South Washington Street in 1977, there was a lunch counter in the drug store (offering excellent cheeseburgers, by the way.)
That year I bought a folding cot at Sears catalog store on East Main when I learned my uncle was coming for a visit. He got the bed; I got the cot.
In 1977, Mark Fischer invited me to see the computer complex Wabash College allowed students to use. As I recall, there were several computer terminals connected to a mainframe and students could write computer programs and play a few games.
A few months later, Radio Shack in the Boulevard Mall offered a desktop computer, the TRS-80, that allowed you to do some of the same "work" in one's home that students could do at Wabash College. At $1,000 it was too pricey for my budget.
I guess the Internet was developed for military use but I knew of no one who talked about connecting computers together in anything resembling a bulletin board much less the World Wide Web we know today.
I mentioned East Main Street has changed. It is evolving and I don't know if anyone can be sure what it will look like when it settles down and remains the same for any number of years.
Today, there are two restaurants on East Main, Little Mexico and Allen's Country Kitchen. A bakery that specializes in cupcakes can be found there. Long standing attorney offices can be found. Both PRKD and Wall to Wall offer rental properties from offices on East Main. Milligan's continues to serve Montgomery County as the business has for decades, before and after moving to its present location on East Main.
Then there are a few niche businesses. You can get a tattoo by walking up a flight of stairs and plunking down your money. You can get a therapeutic massage at Healing Arts, take music lessons at Wabash Music Revisited and you can get practically anything (except tattoos, massages and music lessons) at The Treasure Chest.
The big question most business people seem to be asking is, "How can I compete with the big box stores" like Home Depot and Walmart?
Kandy Hicks, manager of The Treasure Chest Resell Shop seems to have found an answer to that dilemma. She uses the Internet and carries a stock of "treasures."
Kandy's store opened Feb. 6, 2012, just about a year ago.
"I opened for a couple reasons," she said last week. "I sold things online but accumulated too much stuff, then this building (at 205 E. Main) opened. I thought Crawfordsville needed another resale shop."
The Treasure Chest continues to evolve. Kandy offers American Girl doll clothes and believes she has the only store in town that does so. She has DVDs that are guaranteed, even though they are used. She has jewelry, coins, a few clothing items, a lot of books, antiques and electronic items. She promises to search the Internet and try other avenues to find items customers want, though she prefers people shop locally.
"I barter, buy, sell and trade and am mistaken for a pawn shop, but I am not a pawn shop," she emphasizes. "I do not loan money.
"I do have a little bit of everything."
In short, for the many people who like to buy locally, like to find items they remember from their childhood, or who are not interested in computers, Kandy offers a service.
She said she has not charged for finding items online but may have to do that someday as business increases.
Personal service that Kandy offers at The Treasure Chest just may be the "niche" that revitalizes downtown Crawfordsville and makes it the vibrant business community people remember from the early 1960s which is pictured in that enlarged photo in Joe Sadowski's window.
Certainly, it is personal service we believe in and do our best to achieve at The Paper of Montgomery County.
Frank Phillips is a retail account representative at The Paper. He has observed and reported on West Central Indiana news for nearly 20 years.