Quick Takes editorial: Mom-and-pop shop wins acclaim

When Lucabe Coffee Co.’s Tyler and Alissa Hodge opened their second Columbus location in the former Irwin Union Bank and Trust branch in Eastbrook plaza, the building’s architectural significance wasn’t lost on them.

And the job they did maintaining the 1961 building’s distinct character in an adaptive reuse was honored recently on the national stage.

“It is a valuable example of passionate recognition of historic modernism by entrepreneurial residents, that was realized largely outside of academics and specialist professionals,” said jury chair Henry Moss in presenting the Hodges a Modernism in America Award.

Landmark Columbus director Richard McCoy was in New York recently to receive the honor on behalf of the couple from the nonprofit organization Docomomo US, which stands for “Documentation and Conservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the Modern Movement.”

McCoy had accolades of his own for the project and the couple who had the vision to bring it about, saying, “It’s really kind of amazing to think that this is a husband and wife duo, a classic mom-and-pop that’s working their butt off to try to do right by the design and getting recognized for that work.”

We’ll drink to that!

It’s cool to be a happy camper

Here’s something cool: The Indiana Chamber of Commerce for the second year running is sponsoring its “coolest thing made in Indiana” competition using — what else in the Hoosier State of hoops hysteria? — a March Madness-style competition bracket.

Know what’s even cooler? Columbus-based Hiker Trailer is in the Final Four. Voting concluded Friday, and we should know Monday whether Hiker Trailer, based on public voting, will compete next week for this cool title.

For the uninitiated, Hiker Trailer is a 10-year-old company that makes smallish, made-to-order trailers in the $6,000 to $14,000 ballpark, depending on size and features. As The Republic’s Andy East reported, the company employs about 35 people and expects to turn out about 550 trailers this year.

“I don’t think we’ve ever built the same trailer twice,” said Robbie Bosar, director of marketing and operations for Hiker Trailer. “I’m hoping to win the whole thing,” he said of the coolest thing contest, “but, you know, we’ve got some tough competition.”

True enough, but for Hiker Trailer and other homegrown Indiana businesses featured in the competition, they’ve already won. This is great exposure, a service to businesses from the Indiana Chamber and a reminder of the importance of manufacturing to the state. Learn more about the contest at indianachamber.com/coolest-thing-made-in-indiana-tournament.

Columbus, take a bow

Sticking with honors and accolades — and with the Indiana Chamber for that matter — we all have something to be proud of, as Columbus was selected by the Chamber as its Community of the Year for 2022. City, civic and business leaders gathered in Indianapolis on Nov. 16 for the formal presentation.

Among other things, Mayor Jim Lienhoop highlighted achievements over the past few years including completion of the railroad overpass, formation of the COVID Task Force, response to substance abuse and addiction through ASAP, construction of the Taylor downtown apartments and grocer project, and renovation of the former Fair Oaks mall into NexusPark, a health, wellness and recreation hub.

“To bring out your best, to accomplish your utmost, hire the best people you can find, and seek great partners,” Lienhoop said. As recipes for success go, that’s tough to beat.