A new retail incubator pilot program in Indianapolis announced its first business to set up shop in the historic Stutz building.
The 1912 building underwent redevelopment this year, supported by more than $12 million in TIF funding from the city. Real estate development company SomeraRoad partnered with the city to create the pilot program for local entrepreneurs.
We Don’t Run From Adversity, or WDRFA, will move into a 500-square-foot incubator space inside the Stutz.
Indianapolis Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Scarlett Andrews said the program gives the city the opportunity to work with local businesses on a longer-term basis.
“So, six to nine months where they can really see what it’s like to be in a brick and mortar space. Our first business that we’re working with, WDRFA, is a Black-owned business that has a pretty wide online presence,” Andrews said.
The lifestyle brand features clothing and accessories. It’s been operating online and at pop-up and partner events since 2017.
The pilot project was built with an emphasis on inclusion. Andrews said the new Stutz space gives businesses more diverse opportunities.
“It’s got this kind of critical mass that if you see ‘I don’t know about this brand’ or ‘you know this is something new to me’, it’ll be attractive and they’ll have kind of this built-in audience or building clientele,” Andrews said.
Stutz renovations include a mix of retail, food and office space. The incubator space is in an area with other makers and arts businesses.
The project is part of a downtown resiliency program that invests in housing, public spaces and economic development.
Indianapolis’s St’Artup 317 also offers short term, pop-up retail in key commercial corridors and activations during big events, such as the NCAA March Madness Tournament in 2021.
“Having a storefront in the heart of the Stutz will allow us to connect our products directly with Indianapolis and its visitors and give us the physical space to showcase what
our brand is all about,” WDRFA co-owner Mike Gillis said in a statement.
WDRFA will open in the space this weekend and remain there until the spring.
Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at firstname.lastname@example.org.