INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Mark Kolbus remembers when his parents were running A Taste of Indiana out of their basement and garage. Now, that little business has grown into so much more.
After two years, we moved it to two blocks north of where we’re at now,” said Kolbus. “And we were there for 17 years.”
A little over a year ago, they moved to an even larger space at their current location off 62nd Street and Binford Boulevard, between Blind Owl Brewery and Pate’s Pools. It’s here that they officially celebrated A Taste of Indiana’s 34th anniversary in September of this year.
This holiday season, whether you’re shopping for a sports fan, a foodie, or anything in between— if it’s made in Indiana, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here.
“We buy from about 180 Indiana companies. Even our shipping boxes come from Indiana Box out in Greenfield,” Kolbus said. “We cover the state and we look for Indiana made products from Indiana companies.”
You’ll find Hoosier-made gifts perfect for sports fans and college students as well as décor and bath and body products. Plus you’ll recognize well-known Indiana favorites like Albanese Candy, Dillman Farms, South Bend Chocolates, Tell City Pretzels, DeBrand Fine Chocolates and St. Elmo’s.
But you’ll also find products from lesser known vendors like addicting s’mores balls by Indy’s own Chef Jeff, Rise’n Roll crunch from Middlebury, Indiana and chocolates that look more like art.
“Ghyslain out in Union City which is just north of Richmond,” Kolbus explained. “He’s a very fine French artist and he hand paints chocolates… chocolates in the shape of a Christmas tree, a snowman, a gift box and he hand paints everything.”
You can even support worthy causes by purchasing items like dry ingredient gourmet soup kits from Soup of Success. The soup kits are made in Elkhart, Indiana, by women are learning job and life skills in order to get back on their feet. They package the soup kits by hand and the label is actually signed by the woman who assembled it.
You can opt for a pre-made gift box or basket, or customize your own.
“That’s the good feature about us,” said Kolbus. “We have our catalogue that has certain gift baskets and boxes but if someone wants to customize their own, they can go start pulling stuff off the shelf and we can just add that to the gift basket.”
“People will even bring stuff that they buy from let’s just say Macy’s and they want to add that to the gift basket or box. We’ve added that for free. We ship it out, no problem. We’ve shipped out anything and everything… all over the world,” he added.
A Taste of Indiana is also very popular go-to destination for large local businesses or corporations when it comes to bulk orders of employee or client gifts.
“We have an order for 200, 300, 181, 153 and in the next two weeks, we will probably ship out probably 4,000-5,000 gift baskets or gift boxes,” he said.
Plus, businesses can bring in some of their marketing items or logoed items to include in their gifts.
“We also encourage them to send us their company logo and we add that to the gift card, so when they open up the gift box or gift basket they will see ‘Happy Holidays from IMI’ or ‘Happy Holidays and wishing you a best and joyous 2019,” Kolbus said. “They will do that and see the company logo so it helps market their company.”
Four Things You Need to Know About A Taste of Indiana:
- A Taste of Indiana is a one-stop shop of some of the state’s most beloved products, as well as specialty items made by lesser known vendors from towns across the state. Everything is made right here in Indiana, including the boxes they use to ship (which are made in Greenfield, Indiana.)
- To shop, you can stop by A Taste of Indiana’s retail location off 62nd Street and Binford Boulevard, browse their catalog or shop online. They ship all over the world and to every US military base.
- You can purchase single items, gift bags, boxes or bags. They offer pre-made gift assortments (boxes, baskets and bags) or you can come inside and customize your own.
- They source items from over 180 local vendors from across the state. Inside their retail and warehouse space, you can find anything from sports items, college themed items, housewares and décor, bath and body products, soup making kits, hand-painted chocolates and other sweet treats.
A Taste of Indiana will ship out up to 6,000 gift baskets and boxes during the month of December alone, which makes their back room look more like Santa’s workshop.
“Starting this weekend, we might have up to 23 people [working] back there,” he said. “So the elves are busy!”
For more information about A Taste of Indiana, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them via Facebook.
If you’re looking to shop local this holiday season, check out some of the northeast side’s other popular locally-owned shops: