City rallies behind Indy’s blind ‘Broom Guy’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For more than 60 years, the “Broom Guy,” Jim Richter, has been a staple of Indianapolis streets.

The 78-year-old blind Indianapolis man says he was recently told to leave the Nora post office and could no longer sell his brooms there, or any other postal branch in the city.

“They didn’t really give me a reason,” Richter said. “They just said they had one complaint, and I guess they play by the one strike and you’re out rule. But, when I tried to figure out who the complaint came from and address it from that issue, they just told me, ‘We don’t have to tell you anything, you just get off of our property.'”

Indy’s iconic “Broom Guy” has been a staple of city streets for 60 years. (WISH Photo)

People from across central Indiana have since come out in support of the city’s iconic “Broom Guy” — even Gov. Mike Pence.

“I think people all across Indiana have been moved by Jim’s example,” Pence said.

The governor and First Lady Karen Pence stopped to visit Richter on Tuesday morning.

“This is a great, hardworking Hoosier who’s been out here providing a great product,” Pence added. “We are going to buy a broom or two off of you this morning. But, Jim, I also want to let you know that I’m reaching out to the post master general and we’re going to see if we can find some accommodation to get you back to that Nora branch.”

In addition to selling at post offices, over the years Richter has also set up shop outside supportive Indy businesses.

24-Hour News 8 caught up with him Tuesday at the BP gas station at 71st Street and College Avenue.

Coming up this Saturday morning on WISH-TV Daybreak, Dick Wolfsie spends some time with the “Broom Guy” and finds out why his products have stood the test of time.


Berry management criticized by shareholder group

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Plastics maker Berry Global Group Inc. (NYSE: BERY) has responded to a letter from one of its major shareholders which criticizes Berry senior management and the board of directors for failing to give the market confidence in their management efforts.

Canyon Capital Advisors LLC owns 7%, or about 9 million shares, of Berry common stock.

In the letter, Canyon says it believes “that Berry continues to be significantly undervalued and that there are readily available steps by which the company can unlock significant value for shareholders.”

Further, the letter states “the company’s stock has lagged that of peers due to persistent concerns by investors regarding organic volumes, and the stock has been acutely discounted.”

In response, Berry management said in a letter it “regularly engages with shareholders, including Canyon Capital, and values their constructive input.”

The company says the board and management regularly review the operational portfolio and capital allocation to “ensure that we are best positioned to drive shareholder value, including through divestitures, in order to maintain our strong balance sheet and proven track record of free cash flow growth.”

Canyon is asking senior management to take three steps:

publicly announce that it has hired an investment bank or other financial advisors to develop a clear plan of action toward accelerated deleveraging
commit to achieving an investment grade rating (and cease M&A activity other than deleveraging transactions)
get in front of environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) trends and correct market misperceptions about sustainability.
In terms of sustainability, Berry says it remains “deeply focused,” saying it’s working directly with customers to reduce plastic waste and meet its sustainability goals.

Last month the company announced a partnership with Georgia-Pacific Recycling to create what the companies call a closed-loop system to recover, segregate and reprocess post-consumer resin.

Canyon said it believes Berry has the global scale and innovation expertise to lead the industry sustainably, but more needs to be done to unlock value for shareholders.

Berry management said it will continue to engage with Canyon Capital and all shareholders to execute a strategy to enhance value.

Click here to view the letter from Canyon Capital.

Click here to view the entire response from Berry.