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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Rachel Firestone-Mohammad, an Indiana native, says she fell in love with a chef while living in Colorado and brought him back to the Hoosier state to be close to her family.

Not long after that, they found a little place in downtown Noblesville; a place they believed would be home to their dream restaurant. Rachel said that the place “had so much charm with the exposed brick and old floors and we said this is where we want our restaurant to be. We had put three months into remodeling this place to make it exactly what we wanted and we were about to open up our doors when the (coronavirus) pandemic hit.”

While they figured out what to do with their new 9th Street Bistro, they helped feed their family’s friends who had been impacted by COVID-19. After word started getting around about their food, they started the Sunday Supper Club.

“We actually started at the Noblesville Farmers Market selling our ready-to-heat meals and kind of getting a loyal following there,” Chef Samir Mohammad said.

So, what’s reeling in the customers? “We’ve noticed that they just love different food,” he said.

Samir said he and his wife are inspired by the foods they’ve tried while traveling around the world; but, they have also brought comfort foods to people from their versatile menu during the pandemic.

Now, they’re preparing to officially welcome the community for dine-in service midway through summer at 56 S. Ninth St. All they need is a team to help out. “We are looking for some great people to join us as a bartender, servers, maybe a little help in the kitchen, too,” Rachel said.

However, the couple is confident that when they do open the doors, downtown Noblesville will show up. “That support is definitely gonna be there,” Chef Samir said.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH)– For the last couple years, City Dogs Grocery has called Speedway home.

It’s one of three locations for the local pet supply store that’s been named one of the best in Indianapolis multiple times.

“The town, the small businesses, everyone was very welcoming and excited to have something for the dogs,” owner Christi Rider said. “There’s so many dogs here in the area and the neighborhood.”

As a former nurse, Rider says they focus on giving pets healthy and unique food choices you might not find in bigger stores. Many of the treats are also made by local suppliers and with the Indy 500 just around the corner with fans attending, they look forward to getting support from all over.

“We love seeing the people [from] out of town,” Rider said. “They want to stop in and get their furry kiddo at home a little souvenir, so they’ll get them a little treat or a bandana or something just to take home.”

She says even though getting through the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult, what’s happened as a result gives her hope for Speedway’s businesses.

“I think we’re seeing the positive now,” Rider said. “Everyone kind of growing and getting back to where we were. I think that people now realize how important it is to support small and local to keep that in the community.”

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — Amy Waninger believes in building leaders, so she created a business dedicated to molding them.

“The founding principle behind Lead at Any Level is that leaders can be anywhere and should be everywhere in companies,” she said. “We’ll go through an assessment period where we kind of figure out what is it that they most need in their culture. What’s missing? Whose voices aren’t being heard and how can we bring more voices to the table?”

Waninger says she spends a lot of time teaching companies how to change with the times: “Everywhere that people are doing business, they’re business has changed and if companies don’t change with it they’re going to be left behind they’re going to become obsolete.”

Waninger has no problem taking her own advice. “Even though I just used to do live events, now I do live events, hybrid events [and] online events.

She says she decided to start the business after going to a conference where she only seemed to hear problems with her industry and no solutions. Lead at Any Level launched in 2017 and she says after it took a little while to gain momentum, it took off a couple years later. In 2020, she spoke at 75 engagements.

Waninger has authored six books since her first in 2018 and when she’s not writing, she’s hosting her podcast “See It to Be It,” where she tackles different industry topics with other professionals. So far, she’s recorded 52 episodes.

“I really believe in this notion that one person’s impact can cast ripples and I think if we’re intentional about the kinds of ripples we create we can really change the world,” Waninger said.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A couple lifting up people in the community, a family making it taste good to go vegan and a challenge that gave me fits.

Check out the highlights from another week of the Gr8 Comeback:

(INDIANAPOLIS)– It’s a multimedia platform that’s being used to highlight Indianapolis music, art and business. Lamont and Patrice Stokes say they want to use Speak On It Media podcast and magazine to create those connections throughout the city.

“We talk about everything,” Lamont said.

Speaking of being involved in everything, the Stokes have opened more businesses including, P.S. I Luv U Gifts, where they sell merchandise inspired by “gifts from the heart” while also promoting home decor accessories and self-care therapy.

“We just want to promote what’s going on in our community because we believe that, especially after the pandemic, we need to reconnect and that’s what Speak On It is all about,” Patrice said.

The couple, after being married during the pandemic, say their passion for helping others is what’s driving them to make Speak On It Media a platform that grows from its downtown into a national and even a global presence.

“We just have a heart for people,” Patrice said.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)– Taria and Derrick Slack, the owners of the Black Leaf Vegan food truck, are still getting used to all the attention they’ve been getting lately.

However, as the only vegan food truck in the city of Indianapolis, Taria remembers when they weren’t sure if they would be successful or not, but Derrick pushed.

“He was just like, ‘Let’s do it,'” she said. “‘There’s no reason not to do it. Try, and if you fail, you fail, but you know you tried.”

News 8’s Randall Newsome paid the food truck a visit while it was serving at a teachers’ luncheon and the line was non-stop. The overwhelming demand has led to Black Leaf Vegan being chosen as the first all-vegan food vendor to work the Indiana State Fair.

Taria says sometimes the new demand for their food gives her mixed emotions.

“It looks kind of scary but exciting at the same time,” she said.

The question is how do they win over people who don’t think they have a taste for vegan food?

“The taste, the texture, the look and appeal of the food,” Taria said. “It’s important because they need to know that being vegan doesn’t mean that you lose anything you’re not losing out on anything.You get everything else that any other person would have that would eat meat.”

As the buzz continues to spread throughout Indianapolis about Black Leaf Vegan, Taria is proud of what they’ve accomplished so far.

“We did it as a family, so that’s the best thing, is that you know, we said it’s possible, we set a mark, we set a goal and we did it,” she said.

Click here to checkout the Black Leaf Vegan menu.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — If you like throwing sharp objects for fun, chances are you’ve already heard of Bad Axe Throwing in downtown Indianapolis.

It was one of the first group activities to open back up during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and axe throwing coach Max Moorman says since then they’ve stayed busy, especially on the weekends.

He believes it’s because the sport is considered therapeutic. “[It’s] stress-relieving and we all been stressed this passed year,” Moorman said. “It can be some of the best two hours of your life.”

However, News 8 found out that if you visit now, you’ll find that they’re throwing something new your way: knives.

Go online for more information on Bad Axe Throwing Indianapolis.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — When May arrives, no one in Indiana is arguably more excited than the people of Speedway.

The town anxiously awaits the return of fans at the Indianapolis 500 and, for small businesses, it’s the return of a special community event.

More than 30 businesses on Friday will participate in this year’s Pop-Up on Main Street. Vendors will fill the parking lot in front of B. Erin Designs to encourage visitors to “support local.”

Connie Harris, executive director of the Speedway Chamber of Commerce, says, after a tough year of COVID-19 restrictions, she’s excited not only for the business owners but for shoppers.

“We need it for our mental health,” she said. “We need to get out and spend some money so we feel like normal again. Have dinner, a couple drinks and then pop down here and visit some of the vendors.”

Brooke Minnix, owner of B. Erin designs, says she’s proud to be this year’s host. “Small businesses are what thrive in the community,” she said. “They’re what bring the community together.”

Minnix grew up in Speedway. She says she felt guilty when her home décor and gift boutique thrived during the pandemic while others struggled or shut down. However, with her shop supporting other local crafters and artists, she won’t hesitate to promote their businesses to customers.

As they team up for the pop-up, Harris and Minnix hoped the event is the start of bringing the spirit and the experience of the Indianapolis 500 back to the town of Speedway.

“Main Street is going to be hopping,” Minnix said. “We have the Pop-Up going on here with 35 to 40 vendors. It’s just going to be a good time.”

The pop-up event will include giveaways in a “Small Business Lottery” and the first Food Truck Friday of the season at Daredevil Brewing Company.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — When it comes to making beauty personal and changing your health for the better, Malinda Butler believes in the power of sea moss.

“It’s an overall superfood that your body must have,” she said. “When you have sea moss onboard you have a little army inside your body fighting to make everything better. It’s very good for your skin, overall weight management, it gets rid of brain fog [and] it gets rid of leaky gut.”

Before it was a business, it was all about her own health journey and then the more she learned about what sea moss could do, the more she shared it with others.

“I started making sea moss for all of my friends,” she said. Butler said when the COVID-19 pandemic hit people, not only in central Indiana, but more than 40 other states in the country, were interested in giving their immune system some extra security.

“It turned itself into a business during the pandemic,” she said. “I had to basically quit my job in order to keep up with the demand.”

That’s how The Seamoss Boss brand became her primary focus. During the spring of 2021, Butler was able to open the shop in downtown Indianapolis with her son, Jaylon.

“I’m just glad to be a part of it because she really hipped me to what’s going on and how to keep your body right and your mind right by just eating right,” he said.

As a team, they have managed to open up two businesses in one. Starting June 1, next door to The Seamoss Boss will be Burgeoning Health Providers.

“Health physicals, treatment of anxiety, depression [and] high blood pressure,” she listed. “This is where we diagnose and treat it all.”

As she prepares for The Seamoss Boss official grand opening and looks forward to welcoming the community to her one-stop healthy lifestyle shop, she remembers a recent conversation she had with her son.

“I said, ‘Do you know what it’s like to see your own dream?’ And he was like no. I said it’s happening right now.”

Click here for more on The Seamoss Boss and call 317-659-5905 for a health assessment from Burgeoning Health Providers LLC.