INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – On Saturday morning, Lisa Bennett had a line of customers waiting to shop inside the store she has owned for 10 years.
It was a welcome reminder that Black Sheep Gifts in downtown Irvington is open for business after a fire in neighboring Black Acre Brewing Company forced the gift store to close last December.
“The fact it took us until August is a shock to me,” said Bennett.
The fire happened on the Saturday morning before Christmas.
‘”A friend had called me and said, ‘I’m not sure if I need to tell you this, but Black Sheep is on fire,'” added Bennett.
Unaware of how much damage smoke can cause, Bennett and her husband arrived to the scene and both thought they would be back open in a few hours.
Bennett says while that didn’t happen, her customers still showed up to shop in the dark to show their support. The store also has a pop-up store down the street for the holidays so Bennett was able to ring up customers from there.
“At first I thought we were going to open in a couple hours, then I thought maybe tomorrow, and then it was more like hopefully the first of the year, said Bennett.
But that didn’t happen either. COVID-19 hit Indianapolis, shutting down the city.
“Everything was delayed more. We couldn’t get workers and we didn’t know how long this was going to all last,” Bennett added.
Customers say the fire and then the pandemic only made Lisa’s love for her store and the community stronger.
“She would do Facebook lives from the pop-up store to sell, she made home deliveries, and she did it all with a smile,” said Lisa’s sister Tracey Collier.
If you ask Lisa, the store survived because Irvingtonians showed up. The night of the fire, at her pop-up store that kept money coming in, and on her Facebook lives.
“When you have a store and someone in the neighborhood that gives back so much personally and financially, how can you not support that,” said Dawn Briggs who has been shopping at Black Sheep Gifts since they opened.
Bennett says she gets teary eyed thinking about all the community support because without them, she would not be here.
‘Here’ is fresh paint on the walls, new merchandise on the shelves, and the next generation of local shoppers.
IRVINGTON, Ind. (WISH) – Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza is giving back to the community by hosting a donation drive for food pantries who continue to serve families during the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s happening all day at each location on Tuesday.
Proceeds will be given to The Refuge Inc. in Greenwood, The ReSET Center in Lawrence and ICAN Food Pantry in Irvington.
Those who make a minimum donation of $5 will receive a $5 “Monkey Bucks” coupon to redeem at their next visit. It can be used for dine-in only and does not expire.
Owners of Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza said they will make a matching donation at each restaurant location, despite being hit hard from COVID-19.
Co-owner Bob Stark said business remains steady since reopening for dine-in and is trying to get back on track.
He mentioned the franchise has held a food drive for local food pantries in the past as many people have been struggling to survive.
“We drove past a pawn shop and they were lined out the door and we thought we’ve got to get this food drive done that we promised to do,” said Stark. “Now is a good time to do it.”
Stark added he wants to give back to communities that have been loyal since the pandemic and customers who have been ordering curbside pickup and delivery, including giving generous tips to staff members.
News 8 has reached out to each pantry for comment.
“We are so thrilled and thankful for Jockamos’ donation drive. It’s been a challenging time and this money will be put to good use for our neighbors who rely on our pantry each week,” said ICAN Food Pantry’s Managing Director Jill Phillips.
Executive Director Howard Harding said, “The ReSET Center is excited and looking forward to the community partnership with Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza. To have additional resources to address the needs of our community is not only a win for The ReSET Center, it also speaks volumes for the owners and management of Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza, and for that, we’re extremely grateful.”