Multicultural News

Mass vendor event aims to bring new life to Washington Square Mall

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Washington Square Mall is being called a one-stop shop for it’s latest “This is Nap-owned, This is Black-owned” vendor event.

The mall’s new owner is hoping to breathe new life into the shopping center. More than 200 vendors are expected to fill the space Saturday, and organizers say it’s all about promoting small, Black-owned businesses in Indianapolis.

A month ago, there was one more more empty shop inside Washington Square Mall. Today, that space is called Christal’s boutique, and it’s packed with merchandise.

“It has been a roller coaster — it’s been ups and downs, but I didn’t give up and I’m here,” said co-owner Christal Hill.

When Hill sat up shop at last month’s vendor event, she saw this space across the aisle.

“I was right across from the spot. And the whole time I was just sitting there, just looking. And I just reached out to the owner and here I am,” she said.

This is the type of success stories organizer Tevin Studdard and mall owner Keith Lee hope to see more often.

Studdard said seeing 200-plus vendors in one spot is something special.

“The mall felt like it was back … just that excitement, that energy, in the area — to see them all like that is amazing,” said Studdard.

Lee said this is type of energy the mall needs to come back to life, but admits that picking up this project in the middle of a pandemic created concern. But sometimes, he said, the risk pays off.

“The only thing that can happen to this place is to change the names — it has to change names. You cannot still Be Washington Square Mall,” he said, although he’s not ready to reveal the new name.

Organizers said they could have picked a different location for the event, but using Washington Square Mall helps build that community.

“When other black-owned businesses see other black-owned businesses grow, it encourages them and motivates them,” said Hill.

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