The business owners of the Indie House

By providing retail space, private living and a nightly rental cottage, The Indie House at 605 Broadway Street in Cape Girardeau fits into the downtown Cape Girardeau strategic plan of mixed-use properties. (Mia Pohlman ~ B Magazine)

Friday, October 25, 2019

Laurie Everett and her husband, Rocky, purchased the property now known as The Indie House at 605 Broadway in Cape Girardeau in 2015. Now, Everett's vision for the building to house creative spaces in which different businesses operate out of different rooms of the historic property is reality: the building houses the quirky boutique Mother Earth, the niche gift boutique High Street Station, the trendy Brickwood Boutique and Fudio, a studio that offers cooking classes and tasting events.

Built in 1891, the building, Everett says, was originally built as a private residence. In 1923, it was converted into the Schulz Surgical Hospital and served this purpose until Southeast Hospital opened in 1928. It was then converted back to a private residence and was lived in until the mid-1960s. From that point, after a period of vacancy, it housed several businesses, including a photography business and a coffee shop.

The business, Everett says, fits into the downtown Cape Girardeau strategic plan of mixed-use properties. In addition to the retail space, there is an apartment on the third floor and a nightly rental cottage called The Guesthouse in what used to be the carriage house. In these ways, the arrangement checks off boxes from the plan, including long- and short-term living in the downtown area.

"My vision for the Indie House is essentially also what I love about it: the idea that people from different backgrounds and businesses can come together under one roof and collaboratively share customers, ideas and goals for the benefit of everyone involved," Everett says. "I like to hope this vision is a lasting one that spurs conversation about the future of brick and mortar stores and what we can do collaboratively as small business owners to make sure there's still a place for business on Main Street far into the future."

Here, get to know the owners of the businesses that make up the Indie House and discover what inspires them.

Laurie Everett: Owner of Mother Earth

Laurie Everett, owner of The Indie House and Mother Earth inside of The Indie House, poses for a portrait in Mother Earth. Everett has recently added floral arrangements that she creates to her business.
Mia Pohlman ~ B Magazine

In my life, the lines of creativity, inspiration and business are so tied together that all blur into one entity. One doesn't really exist without the other: without the business, there isn't the inspiration, and without the business, I might not necessarily have my creative outlets. I'm fortunate enough to be a woman who gets to take her passions -- in my case, design and fashion, just to name a couple -- and creatively utilize them in a way that isn't just simply a career or a self-expressive outlet.

I typically find myself being the most inspired by items from the past, and being at Annie Laurie's, we have no shortage of inspiration coming through the doors every morning. I can find myself wasting hours flipping through magazines from every era of history from about the turn of the 20th Century forward. Whether it be the grand deco designs and clothing from the 1920s or the big hair and bold shoulder pads of the 1990s, there's no shortage of visuals to help the creativity flow for a store display or even my own personal style choices.

It is important for me to note that in my business, it's not simply just the material that I can look to for inspiration, as I'm inspired daily by the people with whom I get to work. Oftentimes, we're bringing in entire estates of individuals entering different stages of their lives, and the stories they can tell you are enough to get anyone's creative juices flowing. This is made even better by the contrast of our largely college-aged clientele giving their items new life. It's a real "circle of life" to see so many neat things come and go, and even more important that we're giving items a new life. We live in a bit of a throwaway culture at the moment, and it's really important for me to show the younger generation the value of sustainability in relation to all of our futures.

I should also mention my love for all things plants in relation to a creative or expressive outlet. I'm essentially a huge enthusiast and have been lucky enough to turn plants and floral services into an addition to our business, Mother Earth. Aside from just being beautiful additions to any space, I love caring for living things, and I like to show other people just how easy it can be to bring that into their own lives, as well. Anyone can do it, and you should, too!

Lisa Essmyer: Owner of Fudio - a kitchen studio

Lisa Essmyer, owner of Fudio - a kitchen studio, poses for a portrait inside her space in The Indie House. In this space, Essmyer will facilitate cooking classes and farm-to-table dinners. She plans to open Fudio - a kitchen studio by Thanksgiving.
Mia Pohlman ~ B Magazine

My creative outlet is cooking and creating new recipes. I also love to draw, paint and do mixed media artwork. My inspiration comes from music, nature and travel. I take a lot of pictures of my adventures, and I also try new foods all the time. I always ask to keep any paper menus from restaurants I visit to look to for inspiration or as a springboard for new ideas.

I am very emotionally-driven, and I put a lot of love and intention into what I create. Having this outlet for my creativity gives me a sense of purpose, and I really enjoy serving others. I am passionate about sharing my love of cooking with others and teaching them how to cook or serving those people the food I made and watching them enjoy it.

The idea behind the name Fudio - a kitchen studio was a mingling of my background in art and culinary. I really just wanted to find a small space I could manage on my own to facilitate cooking classes and farm-to-table dinners. I also love brunch, so I wanted a space in which I could host brunch on occasion.

When I open Fudio, I will have cooking classes, chef-guided recipe development workshops, farm-to-table dinners and events, brunch, lunch with a limited menu three days a week and some catering. I am also committed to building relationships with local farmers, growers and meat producers who use sustainable farming practices with their animals and produce. I also believe in sustainability within the kitchen as well, and I will use only reusable napkins, plates, cups, etc. and encourage my guests to bring in their own reusable containers when picking up lunch items.

Lisa Walker and Lynette Strange: co-owners of High Street Station

Lisa Walker creates a bow to put on a gift she wraps at High Street Station as Lynette Strange looks on. Walker and Strange are sisters and co-owners of High Street Station inside The Indie House.

We get our inspiration from a lot of different sources. Some of our earliest memories are of our mom decorating our home and making the holidays special. We get some inspiration from decorating books, magazines and social media to keep up on the trends, but going to market definitely jump-starts the creative process.

Sometimes it's as simple as finding one product line that excites and inspires us to create a theme for a display. We also try to get out and take short girls' trips to explore other small towns and boutiques. We recently stopped in Little Rock, Arkansas, on our way to the Dallas Market. It was just a day, but we had so much fun and were energized with lots of new ideas to bring home to our store.

Even though we try to be unique in what we have in our store, sometimes things really start to look the same. So how we merchandise and display things really sets us apart and makes us unique. Lynette is so great at creating a feeling of whimsy; she's like Edward Scissorhands. We want our store and displays to be a magical experience that will inspire our customers when decorating their homes.

We just feel really blessed to be working together and creating a space that we're so proud of and that we get to enjoy every day as our place of work. When our customers are enjoying their shopping experience, that's the best part. We want them to have had a better day because they visited our store!

Christen Edmonds: Owner of Brickwood Boutique

Gabriela Castillo, model and employee at Brickwood Boutique inside The Indie House in Cape Girardeau, straightens clothes inside the boutique. Owner Christen Edmonds is opening a second Brickwood location this month in Columbia, Missouri.

Photography has definitely become a creative outlet for me. It was something I was passionate about even before creating Brickwood. It plays a huge role in my social media marketing, and that is my favorite aspect of my business. I'm most creative when I'm outside of the store, shooting new arrivals and planning my posts for social media.

Instagram has become a vital tool for my business. In fact, it's the only social media platform I work with. It has allowed me to harness my creative outlet and truly showcase my clothing and accessories in a creative and appealing way to my customers.

I'm excited about my recent expansion into Columbia, Missouri -- I just opened a second Brickwood Downtown Columbia on Broadway! I'm happy to be in another college town and to see how a market this size can grow my business.