INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Irvington Plaza remains an eyesore for east side home owners, but one shop there is working to bring hope to the once bustling strip mall.
The Dairy Queen has been there sixteen years as store after store began leaving. The city recently deemed the location an Economic Development Area (EDA) to entice a developer with financial benefits.
“It's sad. When moved in here sixteen years ago this place was busy. All these store fronts, Marsh was here, all the store fronts were open," Dairy Queen Owner David Atherton said, "I hope somebody will come in, and buy this place, and turn it around. Hopefully they have a spot for me when they do, because I don't want to leave.”
So far, plaza owner Eric Becker is waiting for the right buyer. In the meantime, Atherton is planning two car shows this summer. He hopes it can bring some optimism to a deteriorating plaza.
“I tell everybody we are here, we are not leaving, we are open, we are not going anywhere," Atherton said.
Customers often pull up to get their food, and ask if or when they are leaving. Even when they assure them they are here to stay, some still don't believe it. Atherton can't explain it, but somehow the restaurant has seen a rise in business over the past three years, while everything else crumbles around them. City County Council member Blake Johnson called it the most resilient Dairy Queen in the country. He said the neighborhood works hard to support them.
“Yes, I don't understand it. All I can say is we have a lot of support from the community and Irvington," Atherton said.
Johnson said the city is pursuing options and reaching out to possible partners for the location.