2020 was certainly a year of disruption, but many of our borrowers adapted well and made strides over the year. Check out what went on in the world of Build Fund borrowers and their tenants in 2020.
Ash & Elm Cider Co.
In 2015, Aaron and Andréa Homoya reached out to Build Fund for an equipment loan to allow the startup of their hard cidery, Ash & Elm Cider Co. A year later, Ash & Elm opened their first location on the near Eastside of Indy.
As a company, Ash & Elm strives to make quality ciders using apples from around the Midwest and cultivate the market for craft cider in Indianapolis. Each cider Ash & Elm makes uses fresh-pressed apple juice that is never from concentrate and uses all-natural ingredients. They create locally made ciders to increase the cider industry’s strength and expand the tent of cider-makers and -drinkers, building Indiana into a cider state.
Ash & Elm was working to move its tasting room to the first floor of the Assembly (Ford Building) Apartments, allowing for a physical expansion but due to the COVID-19 pandemic that move was put on pause. This move is now planned for the 1st quarter of 2021.
During the pandemic Ash & Elm continued to create new markets for its products. Ash & Elm began selling merchandise online and attending socially distant farmers markets. Ash & Elm saw an increase in carry-out sales in 2020. The proceeds from these actions worked so well Ash & Elm had its most profitable three month period during the pandemic.
Line+Form Art Center
Line+Form Art Center, a tenant that operates out of a rehabilitated building known as “That Pagoda,” is a process-based, community art studio offering various art classes, art camps, birthday parties, and workshops for all ages. Line+Form is on a mission to nurture natural creativity by encouraging curiosity and imagination through art exploration! With its proximity to the Monon Trail, Build Fund’s Borrower saw the potential of the Pagoda as a destination in the Kennedy King Neighborhood.
After a temporary shutdown back in April 2020, Line+Form is back up and running with social distancing protocols in place and high hopes for 2021. Line+Form will soon begin signing up students for its summer art camps.
Ignition Arts was founded by Brian McCutcheon and Tasker Day with the goal of offering high-quality fabrication, craft, and management to clients with unique and creative projects and is a tenant of a Build Fund Borrower. In addition to providing project management, design development, and fabrication and installation services, Ignition Arts pursues partnerships with emerging artists in hopes of bringing a greater variety of creative visions to the public arena.
Hotel Tango Distillery
In the last several years, Hotel Tango has experienced major growth, starting with one tasting room in Fletcher Place and expanding to tasting rooms in Fort Wayne, and a recently-opened location in Zionsville. Travis, Hilary started Hotel Tango in 2014, making it the first combat-disabled, veteran-owned artisan distillery in the United States.
Build Fund made a loan to Hotel Tango back in 2016, allowing it to expand its overall production capacity. The loan was used to purchase and install distilling equipment on the first floor of the Tinker House building on 16th Street.
Hotel Tango’s products can be purchased throughout Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, and Washington D.C. It is also the only distillery product sold on military bases throughout the nation.
Due to COVID-19, Hotel Tango scaled back a bit on in-house service throughout 2020, shifting focus to carryout orders, adhering to social distancing ordinances, and distribution to grocery and liquor stores. Hotel Tango has also made efforts to help combat the pandemic’s spread by using its equipment to develop a sanitizing product that it then donates to partners and organizations in need.
Lessonly Inc., a tenant of a Build Fund Borrower, is a company that develops cloud-based software made to distribute training materials and learning resources to employees to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to perform unrivaled work. Lessonly provides metrics aimed at measuring employee learning, productivity, and engagement.
Lessonly has fortunately seen growth during COVID-19—as remote working platforms have grown significantly during the pandemic, so did the need to provide virtual training.
Recently, Lessonly is seeking rehabilitate unused portions of its building to expand further.
Blackink has been on a growth trajectory for the past few years. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Blackink has experienced even greater expansion as their clients began working remotely and had an increased need for IT consultants.
Tinker House has three additional tenants:
- Hotel Tango Whiskey maintains its production and bottling facility on the first floor of the building.
- Tinker House Events is located on the second floor of the building, and though it has been affected by COVID-19, it is still accepting reservations for social distance events.
- Provider Coffee Shop is located on the first floor and continues to offer to-go orders during COVID-19.
Jobs Projected: 20
Thank you to all our borrowers and tenants for your contributions to the local small business community.
If you would like to start or expand your Indianapolis-area business, the Build Fund, operated by Renew Indianapolis, may be able to connect you to flexible, affordable, and responsible financing for your business. Start the process now!