Take a Deep Dive Into All the 54th Street Area Has to Offer
Writer & Photographer / Alesha McCarty
From growing corn to growing a community, the neighborhood near 54th Street and the Monon Trail has transformed significantly in just a little over a century. The former industrial spaces, surrounded by cornfields, are now home to more than 50 little shops. Suzy and Dave Reese affectionately managed 29 of them.
Dave’s father and grandfather started Reese Roofing at 1155 East 54th Street in 1937. He spent summers riding his bike from 54th Street to see his grandparents in the Meridian area, passing through Broad Ripple. They expanded to include wholesale in 1957. In 1970, Dave and Suzy started a cabinetry business. In 1989 they split the company, and Dave’s brother took over the roofing business, which left the cabinet and kitchen business to Suzy and Dave. The need for storage and offices grew. Dave began buying up the vacant industrial spaces, starting with 1057 East 54th Street. The building, originally home to the Woods Wire factory, would serve as the main space for Reese Kitchens. In 2012 the Reeses sold their business to Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting, which is now home to Couture Pilates.
“We decided to focus on developing the rest of the spaces in the area, with an emphasis on creating a community that felt like old Broad Ripple,” Dave says. “We wanted mom-and-pop shops and owners interacting with customers daily.”
The neighborhood is a one-stop shop providing locals with a variety of eats, shopping, and entertainment in just a short walk. Neighbors love spending leisurely mornings strolling to Gallery Pastry Shop for brunch, cocktails and coffee, while picking up goodies from neighboring stores on the way home.
Nicole-Taylor’s Pasta & Market opened in 2009. The charming neighborhood market and eatery at 1134 East 54th Street is owned by Rosa Hanslits, from Southern Italy, and her husband, Head Chef Tony Hanslits. During the day you can grab a sandwich, deli items and more. In the evenings, they host private Chef’s Table dinners. Suzy loves to visit and stock up on their house-made mozzarella. “It’s so easy to pick up a whole meal in one stop, which comes in handy during the holidays,” she says of Nicole-Taylor’s.
Heritage Clothier and Home (HCH) is another gem, just a few doors down. Owners Stan Wellman and Kent Henry grew up in the Midwest but eventually moved to Florida. The duo missed home and decided to return, reopening their boutique at 54th Street. HCH offers gifts, home goods and men’s clothing. They predict the gift of the year will be their local, hand-painted glassware and ornaments. They also have Indiana beanies, HCH limited cologne, and a variety of goods for everyone.
The space at 1057 East 54th Street used to serve as the laminate countertop shop for Reese Kitchens, but is now home to Prairie General, one of the newest shops. The owners were drawn back to the Midwest after traveling all over the U.S. The shop offers handmade, rustic modern pottery, as well as sustainable, organic, nontoxic cleaning products, beauty items, candles, skin products, coffee, tea and other goods.
Maybe you’re looking for something a little more unique this holiday season. Forrest Formsma Fine Art creates paintings that will take you on an adventure. He has a keen eye for capturing life in motion. While he sells stunning paintings, he also takes commissions and can create a moment captured in time for your loved ones.
For the Foodie
Gallery Pastry Shop: Brunch, lunch, pastries, wine and cocktails. Private events and pastry classes.
Nicole-Taylor’s Pasta and Market: Homemade pasta, cheese, imported products, sandwiches and local goods.
Diavola: Upscale pizzeria and wine bar. Family friendly. Vegan and gluten-free options.
The Flying Cupcake: Cupcakes in a variety of creative flavors. Vegan and gluten-free options.
For the Fit Fanatic
So.Be.Fit: Neighborhood gym and private training.
Simplicity Cold Pressed Juice: A variety of juices and cleanses.
Couture Pilates: Pilates studio with group classes, duets and private sessions.
For Curious Collectors
Surroundings: A curated collection of unique furniture, interior decor and gifts.
Prairie General: In-house pottery and sustainable, unique goods and gifts.
Walter Knabe Studios: Painter and silk-screen printer. Original paintings, unique gifts and paper goods.
For the Stylish
Heritage Clothier and Home: Quality menswear, home goods and local gifts.
civvies: Women-owned boutique with clothing, accessories and gifts.
Luxe Redux Bridal: Designer bridal sample boutique.
For the Creative
HomeRoom: DIY maker Classes.
Posh Petals: Premier locally owned florist.
Erin Young Designs Fabric & Dressmaking Studio: Bespoke women’s clothing, from evening gowns to jackets.
Coats Wright Art & Design: Fine art and interior design.
Tiffany Skilling Interiors: Interior design services and home goods.
Hoskins Interior Design: Interior design services and home goods.
For the Art Enthusiast
Easter Conservation Services: Conservation of frames, furniture, gilded objects, paintings, prints, ceramics and glass objects.
Blice-Edwards: Decorative arts and murals.
Forrest Formsma Fine Art: Artist and painter.
For the Philanthropist
Random Acts of Flowers: Volunteer organization repurposing floral arrangements for local health care, recovery and senior-living facilities.