INDIANAPOLIS — Small businesses in the Nora community say they are being asked to move out and find a new location.
CBS4 has spoken to several small business owners who told us the commercial property managers who own Nora Plaza, Kite Realty Group, are looking for bigger tenants to fill those spaces.
“In December we found out that we would not be able to renew our lease which, understandably, was kind of scary,” said Kinsey Davis, store manager for Global Gifts at Nora.
Global Gifts is a nonprofit fair trade organization that sells handmade items from roughly 40 countries around the world. Its first of five current locations opened in 1988 and the Nora location has been a staple for those in the community for 12 years.
“We had a great great great sales year last year. In fact, our last year was our best sales year we’ve ever had at this location,” said Davis.
Davis said owners were not given many details on why the change was coming, but she said the company seems to have “bigger plans” for the plaza.
“It seemed like – or it felt like – they had big plans. Of course, there’s a lot of factors that they’re weighing – they’re a big company. So one of those plans was to try and bring in larger businesses here in the plaza,” Davis said. “They basically wanted to give us a heads up so that we knew what was coming.”
Davis said Global Gifts was able to renew one final lease in January, but were told another term would not be renewed.
“Basically they told us that they expected by the holiday season of this year we would probably need to be at a new location,” said Davis.
“I understand business is business, but you know, small businesses are what makes communities,” said David Lowry, Owner of DL Lowry Salon.
Lowry said he’s been in the Nora community for 27 years and his salon, DL Lowry Salon, was located at Nora Plaza for nearly two decades before he decided to move his business out.
“After 17 years of being in Nora Plaza our lease was up and we couldn’t negotiate a new lease,” said Lowry. “When I realized that the increase was going to be so drastic that, you know, the numbers weren’t going to work for me. I wouldn’t have been able to keep the doors open.”
Ultimately, in October 2021, DL Lowry Salon moved five minutes up 86th Street into its own building.
“I had a great opportunity to purchase this building… I wanted to stay here and support the [Nora] community,” said Lowry. “But a lot of small businesses can’t afford to buy a building.”
Lowry said lease requirements are getting “sky high” and it’s becoming increasingly hard for small businesses to survive.
“I understand big corporations and they want a 20-year lease and I get that. I understand trying to run a business that way, but what do you do for the small guy? Where do they go,” said Lowry. “And these are loyal businesses that have been in this community for 30-something years.”
Davis said she has started notifying customers of Global Gifts’ upcoming move – many of which respond with shock, surprise, and disappointment.
“We are one location of many here that people say they come to this plaza to see,” said Davis. “But, on the other hand, they say wherever we go they’ll follow us. So I’m happy about that.”
Owners of Global Gifts are still actively looking for a new space. Davis said they plan to stay in the Nora community and they hope to find a larger space with room to expand.
In preparation for their move, Global Gifts is hosting a Bag Sale this Friday and Saturday. Customers can get 20% off everything and anything they can fit into one of the shop’s large handle shopping bags.