Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

The lakefront Miller neighborhood has always seemed like the kind of quirky, bohemian place where an artisan ice cream shop might open inside an art gallery.

Now it has.

The Good Scoops opened at 621 S. Lake St., sharing space with the artist Jennifer Taylor's Painted Board Studio along Miller's main drag. 

"We're an ice cream shop and also part art gallery," owner Oscar Williams said. "We just opened last week, and there's been a good response on social media and from word of mouth."

The small 200-square-foot shop sells cones, waffle cones, scoops, milkshakes and ice cream sandwiches, and always has vegetarian or vegan options. It features rotating flavors like mango, pistachio, Mexican hot chocolate, coconut passion fruit and Ferrero Rocher until the day's supply runs out.

"When I first tried La Michoacana Premium in Pilsen in the city of Chicago, I fell in love with it," he said. "I wanted to bring that to the area; artisan ice cream with a Mexican twist."

Williams, the father of four, moved to Miller five years ago.

"I fell in love with Miller," he said. "Gary reminded me of my native (hometown) Memphis, Tennessee. I see a lot of potential here, but people lack options."

Specifically, he wanted to see more places in the neighborhood catering to families with kids.

"There's not a lot for families to do other than outdoorsy stuff," he said. "The restaurants feel like they're more for adults. But there are families with young kids in Miller."

The only ice cream place in the neighborhood, however, had been McDonald's, where the soft-serve machine was often broken down.

"We're trying to make ice cream accessible," he said. "It's intended to be shared. It's something that makes you feel good. We're a beach community and ice cream kind of goes hand-in-hand with that."

It's mostly carryout, but The Good Scoops is adding outdoor seating in the alley behind Lake Street, where at least a dozen customers will be able to sit.

"I want to get people smiling and bring joy to the place I love, Williams said. "It's hard not to smile when you're eating ice cream. I picture even an angry man who can't help but smile if you give him an ice cream cone." 

The Good Scoops is open from noon to 8 p.m. daily.

For more information, visit thegoodscoops.com.


California Crab at 444 S. Lake St. in Gary's Miller section has closed.

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The seafood restaurant opened just last year, replacing the Carribean-themed 444 Bar and Grill in a tucked-away spot with a large patio just off Miller's main commercial thoroughfare.

The West Coast-style restaurant had been eagerly anticipated in the lakefront neighborhood because it had been under construction for about a year. Its extensive seafood-focused menu featured lobster pot pie, barbecue bacon shrimp, crab pizza, alligator bites, swai fillet, crab legs, mussels and, of course, Alaskan king crab.


Shay Furniture at 6234 Central Ave. in Portage is closing and liquidating more than $1 million worth on inventory. 

The locally owned 20,000-square-foot furniture store sold a number of top furniture brands such as Ashley, Southern Motion, Best Home Furnishings, Jackson Furniture, Restonic, Simmons, Lane, Hughes, Vaughan-Bassett and Liberty Furniture. It's selling off everything in the store until it's empty.

For the time being, Shay Furniture in Portage is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call 219-254-2399, visit shayclosingevent.com or find the business on Facebook.

Coming soon

Midwest Express Clinics is expanding to Merrillville and Dyer.

“Urgent care is really underutilized,” owner Sangeet Shah said. “As (emergency rooms) and primary care doctors fill up, we’re really filling that role for patients who need care, need treatment today, on their own time, at their own convenience.”

The chain now has eight locations including clinics in Munster, Hammond, Schererville and Crown Point. It's looking to open in Merrillville this fall.

“The convenience factor of being able to walk in or schedule an appointment with an online check-in, you can’t do that at the ER. You’re usually in and out of our office in under an hour,” Shah said. “Hospitals and ERs usually average anywhere from two to six hours.”

The clinics can treat any non-life-threatening issues like coughs, colds, broken bones, high blood pressure, injuries and urinary tract infections.

“We definitely put a focus on younger families,” Shah said. “We’re geared towards the growing family, very millennial base. People want that on-demand care. They don’t want to wait weeks and weeks for and they don’t want to spend $2,500 at the ER for basic medical issues. We really wanted to come up with an affordable, convenient care model.”

Midwest Express Clinics offer B12 shots for $10, flu shots for $15 and school and sports physicals for $25.

“On a basic level, we’re more affordable. We’re a fraction of the cost of the ER,” Shah said. “We don’t have any agenda to push any unnecessary testing or expensive diagnostic imaging and that typically saves patients a boatload of money. Our agenda is to save you money.”

For more information, visit midwestexpressclinic.com.

If you've got tips about new stores or restaurants anywhere in the Region, or just wonder what's under construction somewhere, contact NWI Business Ins and Outs columnist Joseph S. Pete at joseph.pete@nwi.com or 219.933.3316.