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NWI Business Ins and Outs: Haunted house closes, Tropical Jerk Hut & Wraps, Umbrella Thrift Shop, The Nutrition Place, and Pink Diamonds Spa & Nails opening
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NWI Business Ins and Outs

NWI Business Ins and Outs: Haunted house closes, Tropical Jerk Hut & Wraps, Umbrella Thrift Shop, The Nutrition Place, and Pink Diamonds Spa & Nails opening

  • Updated

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 Tour of Terror haunted house at the historic Nike Missile Base C-47 in Hobart closed this year, and maybe for good.

Blastcamp Paintball & Airsoft has run a haunted house every Halloween season for the last seven years in the former Cold War-era missile base, where it hosts paintball matches for the rest of the year.

"You basically walked through a storyline where it's a live war scene between the good guys in the American military and zombies," owner Virgil Frey said. "They take you to a historic building and then you're basically on your own to make it through an old Nike missile base."

But the Tour of Terror was called off this year because of declining attendance. The coronavirus pandemic and the challenges it presented with staging a haunted house cinched the decision.

"It just never took off," Frey said. "We loved doing it, but it took eight to 10 weeks of setup and a ton of marketing."

While the closure may end up being permanent, Frey said he'd at least consider the possibility of bringing the Tour of Terror back at some point in the future.

"There's a chance it might come back," he said. "Never say never."

Open

A new jerk and wrap restaurant will bring the spiciness to the former Golden Shrimp restaurant at 1441 E. 82nd Ave. in Merrillville.

Tropical Jerk Hut & Wraps leased the 3,298-square-foot free-standing restaurant across from Red Lobster. It aims to open by late fall.

“The building and location were exactly what Tropical Jerk Hut & Wraps were looking for. Drive-thru space is very difficult to find and being by all the hotels and malls gives them excellent traffic. Ownership was so great to work with and her passion for her food will certainly be noticed," said Myles Rapchak, who brokered the deal along with Brett McDermott of Latitude Commercial. “They are going to be a great addition to Merrillville and the surrounding communities.”

Open

Umbrella Thrift Shop opened in downtown Hobart earlier this year.

The resale store opened in a former podcasting studio at 210 Main St. It offers a revolving inventory of clothing, shoes and accessories, encouraging shoppers to "shop local, shop secondhand and save the world."

Umbrella Thrift Shop is a place where one can find Franco Sarto shoes, Croft and Borrow shoes, Christmas sweaters, corduroy Ralph Lauren trench coats, and Calvin Klein winter coats.

The store accepts donations and gives discounts of 20% to anyone who brings in a bag of old clothes. It also has offered discounts to anyone who brings in cans of nonperishable foods on Mondays this month in support of the Hobart October Food Drive by the Hobart Kiwanis and Hobart Fire Department.

The business is open 12-4 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, 4-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 12-6 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 219-776-1517, email umbrellathriftshop@gmail.com, or find the business on Facebook.

Coming soon

An upscale salon and spa is coming to the corner of Hart Street and U.S. 30 in in Dyer, just across from the Franciscan Health hospital on the state line. Pink Diamonds Spa & Nails leased the 3,220-square-foot space formerly occupied by the Persuasive Looks Salon.

“We are very happy to get such a great tenant for this space. This upscale salon and spa is a perfect fit for the building and their passion for the business showed throughout the entire process,” said Myles Rapchak with Crown Point-based Latitude Commercial. “They are going to be a great addition to Dyer and the surrounding communities.”

Repurposing

The long vacant Knights of Columbus property located at 3916 173rd St. in Hammond is getting new life.

Sergio Marquez, the owner of the nearby La  Fresh Market at 6626 Kennedy Avenue in Hammond, will take over the former social hall and transform it into a modern banquet hall with a commercial kitchen to make food for his supermarket.

“This long-underused property is going to be renovated and reopened as a banquet hall in the future," said broker Antony Miocic of Latitude Commercial. "This project as well as the city’s new Amy Park across the street are great additions to the neighborhood.”

For more information, visit https://www.loc8nearme.com/indiana/hammond/la-canasta-fresh-market/2409271/.

Expansion

Residential Clinical Services, which has served the Chicagoland metropolitan area since 1987, is taking over the second floor of the former Rubino’s Music Center Building at the busy interchange of US 30 and Interstate 65 in Merrillville.

The long-established home healthcare agency will take over part of the music instrument store at 7375 Broadway, where it will offer at-home nursing, physical therapy, and speech therapy.

“It was a pleasure being able to provide a new home for such a well-established tenant as Residential Clinical Services," said Cade Weiler with Latitude Commercial, which represented both parties in the lease. "I truly enjoyed working with them. On the other hand, ownership was able to fill their vacant space with a great tenant, so it was truly a win-win."

New ownership 

Local online sales business Crown Trading bought the former Helix Hydraulics Inc building at 1503 N. Main St. in Crown Point, which it intends to use as a distribution center.

Crown Trading acquired 32,000 square feet of warehouse space on a seven-acre site.

“This has been a long-underutilized property in Crown Point," said Antony Miocic of Latitude Commercial Real Estate, which represented the buyer. "New ownership has long term plans for the area. This is a large building sitting on nearly 7 acres, so to see it renovated and put to use will be a big improvement for the area.”

Open

Bedrock Exterior Contractors opened a sales office at the Ridgewood Professional Center in Hobart.

The roofing and outdoor home remodeling company based out of Minooka, Illinois, took a lease to occupy a 1,200 square-foot office at 7779 Ridge Road in Hobart.

“Indiana’s business-friendly environment is great for attracting companies from Illinois," said Antony Miocic of Latitude Commercial, which represented both the landlord and Bedrock in the transaction. "Bedrock provides free estimates and has a great reputation. They’ll be an excellent addition to our community.”

Coming soon

Wild Bills Tobacco, which claims to be the largest tobacco and vape retailer in Michigan with more than 70 stores, will soon expand to Indiana.

The smoke shope will open its first location in the Hoosier state just across the border in Stock + Field at 4357 S. Franklin St. in Michigan City.

“We were happy to find a strong tenant for the retail center and on behalf of the ownership. Wild Bills and their broker were great to work with throughout the entire process and we’re excited to help bring their first store to Indiana," said Brett McDermott with Latitude Commercial, who brokered the deal with Brett McDermott.

En route

The Nutrition Place will take over the former GNC at 6008 Central Ave. in Portage.

The new nutrition shop in the Strack & Van Til Center in Portage will offers weight loss drinks, meal replacement shakes and energy drinks pumped full of B vitamins

“We were happy to find a user that fits in with the strong mix of current tenants in the center. The local entrepreneur has a great concept and the community will be sure to embrace it,“ said Brett McDermott with Latitude Commercial.

It expects to open before the end of the year.

If you would like your business to be included in a future column, email joseph.pete@nwi.com. 

How much do NWI CEOs make?

If you would like your business to be included in a future column, email joseph.pete@nwi.com.

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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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