Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its nationwide impact on small businesses, several new businesses have opened in Bloomington since March. As more join their ranks, Bloom will continue to update this post.
This Asian fusion restaurant will offer pho and other Thai dishes, bubble tea, and traditional Thai baked goods.
Blooming Thai is currently set to open by the end of August at the former location of Darn Good Soup, 107 N. College Ave.
Board & Brush Creative Studio
Board & Brush Bloomington, located at 522 N. Morton St., offers workshops where participants decorate wooden boards with quotes and pictures to be used as wall décor.
The guided workshops provide an opportunity for participants to follow along with an expert and create the best possible finished product. Wine is available for purchase.
Learn more at boardandbrush.com/Bloomington.
Brilliant Coffee Company
Located in the Alley Works building on West 6th Street, Brilliant Coffee Company serves coffee drinks and artisan gelato. Ten flavors of gelato (all are gluten free) and seven flavors of sorbetto (dairy- and gluten-free) are on rotation to accompany classic beverages like cappuccinos and café mochas.
Learn more at brilliantcoffeeco.com.
Diamond K Sweets
Diamond K Sweets, which has been located in Spencer, Indiana, since 2013, has now opened its second shop in Bloomington at 224 N. College.
DK Sweets offers toffee, peanut brittle, caramels, gummies, chocolate-covered espresso beans, hard candies, and their signature Fudge O’Bits, which earned attention in 2017 when Menards began selling them nationwide.
Learn more at diamondksweets.com.
Bloomington’s newest smoothie bar, Healthy Hoosiers, opened on June 4 serving fruit and specialty smoothies, colorful “energy bomb” drinks, and blended coffee beverages with low-sugar and fat-burning options.
Healthy Hoosiers is located at 211 S. Grant St. Learn more at facebook.com/healthyhoosiers.
Hoosier Seoulmate Korean Restaurant
This family-owned restaurant offers traditional Korean fare as well as special Korean-Hoosier fusion dishes like Kimchi Bacon Fried Rice and the Hoosier Rice Bowl, which includes scrambled eggs and spam and is topped with a mayonnaise-based drizzle.
Hoosier Seoulmate is located at 1614 W. 3rd St. and is currently offering curbside carryout and dine-in seating.
One night in December 2019, Talia Halliday dreamt that she owned a plant store named oak. As the owner of Gather on the downtown Square, Halliday has experience running a business, so she decided to make “oak.” a reality.
Inspired by her own love of houseplants and their popularity at Gather, Halliday drew up the plans for a store that would offer not only the living plants, but also plant-related décor, art, jewelry, and gifts.
The opening date for oak. had already been scheduled when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“It’s been truly unlike any experience I’ve ever had in my life,” Halliday says. “We were set to open on March 24, which was a week after we shut down our other store [Gather] because of COVID.”
Despite the pandemic and some setbacks acquiring plants to sell—“Growers and nurseries are busier than they ever have been!”—Halliday says oak. has had a successful first few months.
“People were interested in houseplants pre-pandemic, but the pandemic has just made them more so,” she explains. “They want to take care of something. Watch something grow. Have something beautiful. Be a part of life. And we can provide that for them.”
Halliday credits part of the shop’s success to its online presence.
“Because we had the extra two months to figure things out, we were able to get our online store functional much quicker than getting [Gather] online,” she says.
She also focused on growing oak.’s social media following—amassing more than 1,870 followers across Facebook and Instagram during the statewide COVID-19 lockdown.
Learn more at facebook.com/oak.bloomington.
PopKorn! Kernels with a Twist
Now located at 122 S. College, PopKorn! Kernels with a Twist offers over 30 sweet and savory popcorn varieties flavored with real foods like cheeses, peppers, nuts, and banana chips. Two flavors are vegan, and 80% of PopKorn! products are gluten free.
Owner Virginia Githiri, a self-avowed foodie, says she got the idea for PopKorn! during trips to Chicago, where she saw stand-alone popcorn shops.
“I like to eat, and popcorn is one of my favorite snacks,” Githiri says. “I wanted to try that but with a really tasty product I could call gourmet.”