Lots of green space, charming architecture and just about any type of commerce a resident might need can be found in the Village of WestClay. Two areas, The Village Center and WestClay Uptown, are home to a combined total of around 100 businesses. It creates a full-circle relationship that’s beneficial to both residents and business owners. The Village of WestClay Owners Association (VWCOA) cultivates this mutual attraction by ensuring the village leaders maintain their vision.
“The Village of WestClay is based on the concept of a traditional neighborhood development,” says Jeff Terp, executive director of the VWCOA. “There are several of these integrated communities around the country. They are resident-driven and fully walkable. Businesses which support the neighborhood are at the core. Think of the ethnic neighborhoods in major cities. They have a grocery store, dry cleaners and drug store on the corner, and everyone walks.”
The association promotes the businesses and periodically organizes meetings with them. However, the main focus is the dedication to maintaining the village. In warm months, beautiful flowers are planted and grounds are manicured. During the winter, salt is put on walkways and snow is shoveled. Architectural standards are enforced. It all comes together to make the neighborhood an inviting place to shop as well as live in.
Indy Dental Group was the pioneer business in the village. Dr. Elizabeth Lewis, co-founder of the practice, is one of the dentists who enjoy working from the WestClay location. A perk for patients is that the site is convenient, with dry cleaners, nail and hair salons, exercise studios and restaurants all within walking distance from one another.
Christine Rainey, branch manager of the National Bank of Indianapolis WestClay location, agrees.
“People walk over or ride bikes here to do banking,” Rainey says. “We feel like a neighbor.”
“We do plenty of business with the local retailers here,” adds Kaleb Harrison, assistant branch manager. “We love building relationships and we have a good attention to detail. When someone walks in, it’s great to know their name. We like to be able to provide that personal touch.”
The Village of WestClay is known for being a friendly, tight-knit residential community, and that’s true on the business side as well. Paige Patrick, owner of Urban Society Salon, was living in the Village of WestClay but working at another establishment when the opportunity to own her own business came about. David Klain, owner of DK Construction and, at the time, owner of Zing Café, approached Patrick after she had come in every morning for a year.
“He asked me what I did for a living and I told him I was a hair dresser,” Patrick says. “He said I should open my own salon in the village. Later, I ended up renting a 291-square-foot space. I actually doubled the number of clients I had before the first year was over. That year when there was a big snow, no one canceled because they couldn’t drive. They just walked over. After three years I am moving to a larger space in one of the last commercial buildings built, which was bought by Tom Davidson of Pastime Tournaments.”
While there are still business lots available in the Village Center and a couple in WestClay Uptown, Terp feels they will be built on by the end of 2022. Terp says many customers come from outside of the village. For instance, 60% of the patrons of Danny Boy Beer Works and Sahm’s Ale House are not residents. When Patrick opened her shop, she brought clients with her including several from beyond the Carmel area. This is true for Dr. Risa Davidson of Little Village Pediatrics.
Davidson’s practice is unique. It is a concierge model, which, in effect, goes back to the way medicine used to be. All of her patients have her phone number and while she is a pediatric doctor, she offers COVID-19 vaccinations and ear piercings for all ages in the community.
“Since I am a direct primary-care pediatric physician, I need to live close to my office,” Davidson says. “If I have to pop over there at 7 p.m., I can get there quickly. My practice goes beyond the village. I have a big draw from Zionsville, Carmel and the surrounding areas.”
Davidson has a small retail section in the front of her office. Anyone can pop in and purchase items that she herself uses for her own family. Dr. Doug’s Balms, a line of skin-care products, was developed by Dr. Doug Strobel, a neurologist, and marketed by village resident Natalie Gardner. The products are available online through the company’s website.
“The businesses in the village all support each other and share ideas,” Gardner says. “Word of mouth travels fast throughout the village and that has helped our business grow. I love good people and I love to source locally. Our photography was done by Roben Bellomo of BEHN Gallery/Bellomo Studios right here in the village. In fact, when people order from our website they can pick up their items from the photography studio.”
Bellomo chose the village for his business because he was looking for a community-oriented location. In the beginning, the ratio of clients living in the village to those living outside was skewed to the nonresident side. The ratio is slowly changing as he meets neighbors at village events such as First Friday.
“I taught school for 10 years,” Bellomo says. “One big challenge in the classroom was the importance of building a foundation in the community. I felt it was natural to be in a community and build relationships. Likewise, the more unified the businesses get with each other, the more we can provide service. It’s a win-win. I’ve been here over a year now, and there are still people coming into the gallery for the first time. We are growing relationships with our neighbors and we are able to spend time getting to know our clients.”
Sherri Klain, wife of David Klain and owner of Basket Pizzazz, feels there are a lot of business in the village that are hidden treasures. She loves the fact that kids can ride their bikes to her store and that people are out and about all the time. She wants people to know that the Village of WestClay is more than just houses.
“People are wowed by the neighborhood and what we have to offer here,” she says. “People fall in love with it and want to work as well as live here. We have so much to offer with parks, restaurants and concerts.”
David and Julie Morton of Morton Homes Realty agree. They were involved with the village from the beginning, building and selling homes since 2000. Recently, they relocated their office to a site on Meeting House Road.
“We had confidence in the concept from the start and we believe in it so strongly we have moved our office here,” David Morton says. “It is a very close-knit community and the businesses help and support each other. The businesses draw residents to the community.”
Village of WestClay Owners Association, 12884 Broad Street, 317-574-1164, vwcownersassn.com
Bellomo Studios/BEHN Gallery, 2149 Glebe Street, Suite 100, 619-569-6709, bellomostudios.com
Little Village Pediatrics, 12740 Meeting House Road, 317-343-8844, littlevillagepediatrics.com
Pastime Tournaments, 12755 Bird Cage Walk, 317-201-2358, pastimetournaments.com
Dr. Doug’s Miracle Balms, 317-207-1994, drdougsbalms.com
Danny Boy Beer Works, 12702 Meeting House Road, 317-564-0622, dannyboybeerworks.com
DB Klain Construction, LLC, 2159 Glebe Street, Suite 200, 317-846-9992, dbklain.com
Basket Pizzazz, 2159 Glebe Street, Suite 100, 317-564-4888, basketpizzazz.com
Indy Dental Group, 12720 Meeting House Road, 317-571-1900, indydentalgroup.com
Morton Homes Realty, 12701 Meeting House Road, 317-714-8716, mortonhomesrealty.com
National Bank of Indianapolis. 2410 Harleston Street, 317-873-2000, nbofi.com
Urban Society Salon, 12755 Bird Cage Walk, 260-615-6421, urbansocietysaloncarmel.com
Sahm’s Ale House, 12819 East New Market Street, 317- 853-6278, sahmsalehouse.com
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