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NWI Business Ins and Outs: Funnel Cake Man opens in Southlake Mall, video game-themed gym comes to Griffith, Amarillo Roadhouse closes in Schererville
NWI Business Ins and Outs

NWI Business Ins and Outs: Funnel Cake Man opens in Southlake Mall, video game-themed gym comes to Griffith, Amarillo Roadhouse closes in Schererville

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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.

You no longer have to wait for the county fair to tear into a funnel cake.

The Funnel Cake Man, which had operated as a catering business for the last five years, opened a restaurant on Valentine's Day in the former Subway space on the second floor of the Southlake Mall on U.S. 30 and Mississippi Street in Hobart. It's located in a hallway just east of the H&M store.

It specializes in gourmet funnel cakes that can be topped with strawberries and whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate, nuts, sprinkles, chocolate chips and many other toppings. It offers traditional funnel cakes that you'd find at a carnival or state fair as well as flavors like red velvet, warm cinnamon apples and birthday cake.

The Funnel Cake Man was founded by Tavares Davis and NaKesha Davis with the motto "Who wants Funnel Cake? I Do! I Do!"

"We're a family-owned business," Tavares Davis said. "We offer catering and funnel cakes on site for birthdays, family reunions and things of that nature. We were given the opportunity of opening in the mall. It's another stream of revenue in addition to the catering side. We are very pleased and excited to be inside the mall."

The Funnel Cake Man offers funnel cakes in three sizes: baby, junior and man. The menu also includes deep-fried Oreos and elephant ears. It also offers gluten-free and sugar-free options.

"We have sugar-free for the older crowd and those with diabetes," he said. "We're very family-friendly and well-mannered. We pride ourselves in our customer service."

The Funnel Cake Man is open when the mall is: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, find the business on Facebook.


Power Up Fitness and Training, a video game- and pop culture-themed boutique fitness studio, charged into downtown Griffith to level up people's fitness.

The gym opened at 100 S. Broad St. — appropriately enough, right across the street from the Twincade barcade, giving gamers a chance to put in a hard workout in one video game-themed business and walk across the street to cool off with a cold beer in another video game-themed business.

Murals on the walls feature video game characters like Mega Man, Zelda, Kirby and Princess Peach from Super Mario Brothers. Video games are incorporated into some of the classes such as Killer Kettleballs that references the Killer Instinct arcade game and the four-to-six-weeks Hero's Quest class for people looking to get back into shape.

The gym focuses on personal training, small classes, and running, planning to do group runs along the Erie Lackawanna Trail

"We are not a one-size-fits-all gym," Erin Higy said. "This is for people for all backgrounds. This place is fun, like how it was the best part of your day when you came home from school and played video games."

Power Up Fitness and Training is open by appointment only during the mornings, afternoons and evenings Monday through Saturday. It plans to have a few classes a day, including Crossfit-like workouts outside by the trial.

"It's a nice alternative to the chain gyms where you're just a number," Higy said. "They don't care if you fall off. You pay your $10 a month and they've got your money. We want to see you healthy. We want to see you achieving your goals."

The 2,000-square-foot gym employs three and caters instruction toward personal fitness goals, such as completing 5K runs or running to the top of the Hancock Center skyscraper for Hustle Chicago.

People can work out with kettle bells, free weights and a few machines. They can sign up for individual classes or packages of six to 20 classes.

Higy, who's worked in the fitness industry for seven years, said she was keeping prices relatively low so the gym would be accessible to people.

"You don't have to be wealthy or have tons of disposable income to stay fit," she said. "Fitness can be a hobby like hiking or crocheting so you can lead the life you want to live."

She said she wanted to serve clients who have been turned away by other gyms, including the severely overweight, the autistic and people with cerebral palsy.

"In terms of personal training, when you sign me on, I'm going to be very supportive, not yell at you like a drill sergeant," she said. "You're not doing this alone. We're working together toward a goal. I want to be part of your fitness journey, even if you just work out because you need some help relieving stress."

Power Up Fitness took over the space formerly occupied by the Bee & Me boutique.

"I really like downtown Griffith and all the street traffic with people looking in," she said. "Some of our older clients remember this used to be a Mike Anderson Chevrolet dealership showroom. They've sent me photos. I like to be part of a history like that."

For more information, call 219-334-5416 or find the business on Facebook or Instagram.


The Amarillo Roadhouse is no longer sizzling in Schererville. 

The rustic Texas-themed steakhouse at 1924 US Rt 41 has closed and the building is for sale.

Owned by the locally owned Texas Corral chain, Amarillo Roadhouse served a variety of steaks, chops, barbecue and down-home "Texas teaser" appetizers like the fried Amarillo Onion and Texas Tater Skins, and well as the hot baked rolls with cinnamon butter.

The steakhouse opened just south of the the Crossroads of America intersection of U.S. 30 and Indianapolis Boulevard in 1996, but the number of dining options in the Tri-Town has exploded since then.


The Hoosier-owned Crew Carwash chain recently opened its first Valparaiso location at 2615 LaPorte Ave.

The Fort Wayne-based company now has 33 locations across Indiana, including one in Merrillville.

“We are excited to become a part of the Valparaiso community,” said Sally Grant, executive vice president of Crew Carwash. “We are proud to invest in the growth and development of area. Being located next to Centier Bank at LaPorte and Silhavy, along with many other new retailers, we look forward to offering the residents of Porter County a world-class carwash experience.”

Crew Carwash, which also plans a St. John location, invested $5 million in its Valparaiso location that features all-electric motors, LED lighting, an environmentally-conscious water reclamation system and self-service dual-hose vacuums that let customers to vacuum the interior from each side of the vehicle.

Customers can sign for the Unlimited Club for a monthly fee where they can get unlimited carwashes in a special lane reserved exclusively for them.

“As we continue to grow our statewide footprint, there was no doubt in our minds that we wanted to be a part of the Valparaiso community,” said Bill Dahm, owner of Crew Carwash. “We’re eager to share our family-owned and operated business with the residents of Porter County and offer them the clean, fast and friendly customer service that sets Crew Carwash apart from our competition.”

A grand opening celebration with the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce is slated to take place at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

The car wash will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

For more information, visit or call 219-224-3395.

Here's a list of businesses that recently closed in Northwest Indiana:

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 or 219.933.3316.


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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.

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