When the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11, many local businesses were forced to close their doors. The future of Bloomington’s small businesses was, and remains, uncertain. As cases continue to climb in the state, some businesses are making the choice to close permanently. Meanwhile, several new businesses have opened during this challenging time. Below is a running list of both, which Bloom will continue to update.
Please feel free to comment new or closing businesses below, or email [email protected] with list updates or corrections.
UPDATE: Bloomington Sandwich Company
On November 25, Bloomington Sandwich Company will close its doors after 15 years. The restaurant, which opened in 2005, was located at 118 E. Kirkwood and offered a variety of sandwiches, melts, soups, and salads.
Blue Heron Woodworking Supplies
Blue Heron closed its doors on July 31 after five years in Bloomington.
“I have decided to close Blue Heron and retire to my home in Brown County. Serving the Bloomington and Central Indiana woodworking community has been a great honor and a pleasure,” said owner Michael Evans in a post on the shop’s website. “I am sad to have made this decision but I believe it is time for me to move on. I hope to maintain contact with all of the friends I have made during my tenure as proprietor of Blue Heron. It has been a good ride.”
Darn Good Soup
On April 21, Darn Good Soup owner Nels Boerner announced that the downtown restaurant would be closing indefinitely due to the pandemic.
“Thank you all for the support over the years, we’ve made a lot of friends,” Boerner wrote in a Facebook post announcing the closure. “We might be back in a new location at a time unknown. We will miss feeding you.”
The Highland Lounge
Located on Curry Pike near Bloomfield Road, the Highland Lounge prided itself on its close-knit community of regulars and laid-back atmosphere.
National chain T-Swirl Crepe offers naturally gluten-free, Japanese-style crepes. The Bloomington location on Kirkwood has closed permanently.
La Vie en Rose
La Vie en Rose owner Stephanie Laparre announced on June 2 that the café would close its doors on June 28.
“I hope to see you then and to have a chance to say our goodbyes,” Laparre wrote in a Facebook post.
Monroe County Martial Arts
After nearly 30 years in Bloomington, Monroe County Martial Arts, 223 S. Pete Ellis Dr., closed its doors on June 30.
“When we opened in November of 1991, our mission statement was to provide Monroe County’s citizens with safe, affordable, and fun training in the martial arts. After considering the safety precautions available for re-opening in the present pandemic, we cannot with any confidence see how we can maintain a single one of the three facets of our mission statement,” said owners Steve and Linda Scott in a Facebook post.
Long-time Bloomington restaurant Opie Taylor’s has closed. A popular dining and drinking spot for Indiana University students, Opie Taylor’s served beer and bar fare. On Tuesday, August 11, the restaurant, located on the downtown Square, sported signs in the windows announcing its permanent closure.
The Pourhouse Cafe
In October, the Pourhouse announced it would close its doors semi-permanently at the end of the month.
“In order to remain a viable business, we will be shutting our doors, entering an ‘inactive’ state as a business, and beginning to search for a location to call our future home, where we hope to re-open when the market and state of things has resumed some semblance of normalcy,” the business said in a Facebook post. “We have absolutely loved serving Kirkwood and Bloomington as a whole, and we cannot wait to announce our ability to begin serving once again in new ways and old.”
Pygmalion’s Art Supplies
After more than 48 years in Bloomington, Pygmalion’s Art Supplies closed on June 30. In a statement released on June 1, owner Nancy Crenshaw explained that the store’s building was sold earlier this year and that it had become too costly to maintain the business in the current economy.
“This was not an easy decision to come to,” Crenshaw wrote. “My brother [former owner] John Wilson loved Bloomington and he loved the art community. My full intention after he passed away was to keep his business continuing as one of Bloomington’s iconic businesses. I simply cannot see that happening in our current situation.”
The staff at Rocky’s Pizza, located on College Avenue, announced on July 28 that the restaurant would be permanently closing its doors.
“We want to thank all of our customers for their loyalty and support,” the Facebook post says. “Thanks everyone, it was a great ride.”
Tandoor & Tikka
Tandoor & Tikka, 250 S. Washington St., has closed. The build-your-own entree Indian restaurant, which opened in February 2019, was part of a chain that aims to introduce modern Indian fare to Midwestern communities.
Vance Music Center
After 72 years in Bloomington, Vance Music Center has announced it would be permanently closing on August 30.
“We want to thank all of our loyal customers and friends we have met over the years,” the shop said in a Facebook post.
UPDATE: Greek’s Pizzeria
Eric Gordon’s Greek’s Pizzeria has opened in the Evolve Apartment complex on North Dunn Street. The shop, which is currently serving 13 kinds of pizza, salads, breadsticks, and sandwiches, opened in November. It currently has 15 employees and socially distanced tables.
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.
A Jersey Mike’s sub shop is opening in Bloomington. The restaurant, which offers a variety of sandwiches, will be located at 2618 E. 10th St.
The national chain has several other locations in Indiana, including those in Indianapolis, New Albany, Fort Wayne, South Bend, and Zionsville.
Learn more here.
Nat’s Bakery and Cafe
Open now, Nat’s Bakery and Cafe serves specialty coffee drinks, made-to-order omelettes, sandwiches, salads, soups, and ice cream.
Located at the former site of Stefano’s in Fountain Square Mall, Nat’s also offers baked goods, including vegan and gluten-free options.
NOURISH Bar, on West Sixth Street, sells specialty cocktails and fresh soups, salads, and paninis. Vegetarian and vegan options are available.
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.”
Located at 222 N. College Ave., Soul Juice is a juice bar that will offer fresh fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies. The shop will also offer açaí bowls, organic oatmeal, vegan treats, parfaits, and fruit bowls.
Learn more here.