KipCor is a recently-established real estate development company focused almost exclusively in Kokomo, IN, and Memphis, TN.
Hello, Welcome to KipCor We are happy to be a part of this community & look forward to doing great things together! Feel free to interact with us if you have any questions about projects we are working on. We will often post updates of our developments - Please Visit and Like US on Facebook and Twitter - Updates Daily.

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Community and Friends Site links

 The Candy Shoppe    The Candy Shoppe FB     Gabetta's 

 Mulligan's                     The District                          Gingerbread House

                                                             Oscar's Pizza

Thanks to Everyone that helped - KipCor Coat & Blanket Drive

KipCor Coat & Blanket Giveaway - Volunteer to Help

KipCor Coat & Blanket - Giveaway

KipCor Blanket & Coat Drive - Update

Turkey Day

Saturday December 10th

KipCor Blanket &Coat Drive - Update

KipCor Christmas Party 2016 recap

Kipcor Blanket & Coat Drive Drop Off info

Kipcor Blanket & Coat Drive - More details

Kipcor Blanket & Coat Drive

December First Friday

Kipcor Gives back to the Communitiy 

Turner building to be rebuilt

Kokomo Symphony

Downtown Kokomo Development

Bridges Lip Sync Battle

The City of Kokomo is Hiring

Oscar's Pizza

National TACO Day  - 3 Amigos - 219 W.Jefferson Street

Join Our Team

North Buckeye Coming alive again with Events

Coming Soon Cobblestones Suites - Downtown Kokomo Luxury Suites

It's TACO Tuesdays at 3 Amigos

Kipcor is Hiring

We're hiring at Kipcor

3 Amigos for Music on the patio

The Candy Shoppe

The Wildcat - American Restaurant - Downtown Kokomo

New downtown Restaurant Offers Indianna-Grown food

Welcome to Geek Street 2016


The Demise of the Barko Building


Indiana University Union Street Gallery - Firestone Building in downtown Kokomo



Kipcor helped welcome the new Indiana University Union Street Gallery to the Firestone Building in downtown Kokomo.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Sunday, April 3, 2016


Blight elimination continues throughout Kokomo



Unwritten agreement reached for Barko's building


Progress is moving forward and onward. This is more progress in downtown Kokomo.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Sunday, March 13, 2016


Recycling materials in a unique and creative way


Kipcor Inc.has worked with Fortune Companies on several projects downtown and we are always excited to partner with a...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Tuesday, February 23, 2016


 Mayor Goodnight delivers his 9th State of the City address



Kokomo - Young Professionals 20 under 40



Farmers Market Accepting applications for upcoming season


Kokomo Farmers' Market 2016 is going to be the best ever! Looking forward to the season opening up again soon.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Saturday, February 13, 2016


A Historical view of Friestone Plaza


A historical view of the Firestone Plaza building that is coming back to life as new tenants continue filling the space.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Thursday, February 11, 2016


Kokomo heritage -City of First


Great article about our Kokomo heritage. City of Firsts!

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Monday, February 8, 2016


The Blind Owl cigar bar opens in downtown basement 



 The Blind Owl - Open


A new downtown establishment opened yesterday on Sycamore Street. The Blind Owl is going to be a cool place to hang out if you like cigars and adult beverages. Great design and build by Fortune Companies

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Thursday, February 4, 2016


Firestone Plaza getting ready for BodyWorks Yoga Studio.


KipCor working on a suite in the Firestone Plaza getting ready for BodyWorks Yoga Studio. Drywall work being done with...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Thursday, February 4, 2016


New neighbors on the block!


New neighbors on the block!

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Greater kokomo Chamber of Commerce - Kipcor - Flint, MI - Water donations



New eatery seen as sign of Sullivan's development

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Friday, January 15, 2016


Jeff Broughton Speaks about purchase of Runt's lounge -Sullivan Daily Times



Kipcor continues to make a difference in Indiana


KipCor continues to make a difference in Indiana with this project in downtown Sullivan.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Thursday, January 14, 2016


Here is a look back on a Great 2015


Here is looking back to a great 2015 filled with old friends, new friends, challenges and accomplishments. A few of these moments captured here as we reminisce before we jump into 2016 opportunities with both feet.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Friday, January 1, 2016


Congrats to KipCor's Jeff Broughton for being named an honorable mention in The Kokomo Perspective 2015 People of the Year


Congrats to KipCor's Jeff Broughton for being named an honorable mention in The Kokomo Perspective 2015 People of the...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Thursday, December 17, 2015


Here is an example of how an old building can be transformed


Here is a great example of how an old, used building can be transformed into beautiful and useable space. This...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Monday, December 14, 2015


Kipcor's Christmas Party 2015


Photos from KipCor's Christmas Party last Saturday evening hosted by the Broughton Family at Jeff Broughton's condo on...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Saturday, December 12, 2015


City of Kokomo - City Hall's



It Should be National Marshmallow Day, Today


It should be like National Roast A Marshmallow Day today or something. Here are some kids enjoying KipCor's fire pit in front of the The Candy Shoppe on North Buckeye Street.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Thursday, December 10, 2015


Start you're Diet Jan 1st, 2016


Start your diet January 1st and go to Gingerbread House Bakery now. So much deliciousness going on there. You can get...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Vote for best Decorating 


Vote for the best window decorating using the link and instructions below. Remember our friends on North Buckeye Street who are participating: Gabetta's Gingerbread House Bakery Fade Salon and 3 Amigos

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Tuesday, December 8, 2015


December First Friday


Here are some of our photos from December First Friday on North Buckeye Street. We love seeing the Depot District so...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Sunday, December 6, 2015


Editorial - Dwontown Rejuvenated



Santa Claus to Visit downtown during First Friday's - Home for the Holidays



Youth fixes up homes



Hunders of new apartments coming to downtown Kokomo





Kokomo announces $32 Million development


Here is video from the announcement today by Mayor Greg Goodnight at City of Kokomo - City Hall

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Monday, November 23, 2015


Big Announcement for the City of Kokomo


Here is the big announcement for the City of Kokomo - City Hall today. A $32 million dollar investment which is the...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Monday, November 23, 2015


Looking forward to another great holiday season in Kokomo, IN


Looking forward to another great holiday season in Kokomo especially as the downtown transforms with decorations and lights. While the banners say Enjoy Kokomo Downtown let's just say Enjoy Kokomo.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Monday, November 23, 2015


A word from 3 Amigos 


As we get Kokomo's first snow we are reminded that our patio is most likely closed for the season. We had a wonderful...

Posted by 3 Amigos on Saturday, November 21, 2015


We Love investment and development in our city.


We love more investment and development in our city and are excited to hear this big announcement Monday. Kokomo, you...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Saturday, November 21, 2015


This is what progress looks like - The Firestone Building


This is what progress looks like....Welcome Nexient to Kokomo as they continue to get settled in to the Firestone...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Firestone building filling up.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Sunday, November 15, 2015


A Job Well Done.




Howard White of White's Meat Market.



White's Meat Market - Coming to Downtown Kokomo.


More progress and development in downtown Kokomo. Way to go White's Meat Market !

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Monday, November 9, 2015


City Begins Blight elimination




IU Kokomo to open downtown art gallery.




Now You Know -Watchtower




Bridges Outreach




Celebrity Lip Sync Battle benefits Bridges Outreach




Scotty's Brewhouse, Kipcor still ironing out details for Kokomo franchise










Congratulations to Mayor Goodnight and the other winners in the Kokomo elections.



Congratulations to Mayor Goodnight and the other winners in the Kokomo elections. Now let's get back to work making Kokomo one of the finest cities in the Midwest.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Kipcor's Very own - Jeff Broughton.. Getting ready for this Friday



So Kipcor's very own Jeff Broughton will be performing live at the Bridges Outreach Celebrity Lip Sync Contest on Friday...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Monday, November 2, 2015



Kokomo and Greg Goodnight lead the way by example for the state city's in 21st century economic development.



The rest of the state follows Kokomo and Goodnight as an example to follow in economic development for other city's in Indiana.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Monday, November 2, 2015


A personal messagefrom Kipcor's Jeff Broughton about the up coming Mayoral election in Kokomo, IN



A personal message from KipCor's Jeff Broughton about the upcoming mayoral election in Kokomo, IN: In the next couple...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Sunday, November 1, 2015


Waiting Game - Barko building's future still in limmbo




IU Kokomo plans downtown art GalleryKokomo Herald



IUK brings art gallery to Firestone building! Kokomo is growing!

Posted by Crista Marie Tharp on Wednesday, October 28, 2015




City moves forward with construction, demolition projects.




Bagwell evidence of Republican desperation




Firestone Building beginning to take Shape


Firestone Building beginning to take shape

By George Myers | Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 6:00 am

As Jeff Broughton gazes upon the time-honored exterior of Walt Moss Barber Shop, with its bright red paint, brick columns and classic barber poles, he contemplates the future of his biggest Kokomo development project – the Firestone Building.

It’s his structure, also known as Firestone Plaza, that Broughton says will be a cornerstone of Kokomo’s expanding downtown by early 2016.

But it’s the Walt Moss Barber Shop, operated since 1965, that he looks to for inspiration.

“Look at the pride in this community. Look at that barbershop,” he said. “That’s amazing. That guy takes pride in his building. If everyone did that, it’d be like a fairy tale here.”

It’s a similar pride, and an optimistic view of the city’s future, that Broughton, who acquired the building in November 2013, credits for the progress made within the Firestone Building, a former parking garage built in 1930.

“The more and more I get to know Kokomo, the more excited I get about the potential,” he said. “There’s so much happening now. To me, it’s the same as technology. Every decade, the technology speeds up, and that’s what it’s like with downtown.”

With the hope of adding to that potential, Broughton says the building, located at 219 N. Union St., will be fully operational by early next year, serving as the home to a number of Kokomo organizations and businesses.

The following, according to Broughton, will reside in the building shortly after New Year's: an IU Kokomo art gallery; a “breakfast and lunch” café; Power 104.9 FM; a juice bar; and Body Works yoga studio.

Outside of the café and juice bar, each of these occupants has signed a lease, he added.

These businesses will join West Lafayette-based Child and Family Partners Inc., a provider of mental health and social services, and Nexient, formerly known as Systems in Motion.

The building’s biggest catch, Nexient, a tech firm based out of Newark, California, announced plans to bring roughly 240 jobs to the Firestone Building during a ceremony on June 30, 2014.

The company, which previously said it could lease up to 25,000 square feet, is expected to utilize the entire second floor, according to Broughton, who noted Thursday the company should be fully moved-in within “a couple days.”

In addition to the businesses moving into the Firestone Building, Broughton also has a vision for the building’s roof. That vision – dependent upon the near-completion of the building’s elevator – includes laying down turf, hosting summer movie nights and implementing a “seasonal restaurant.”

While the roof may be further behind everything else, Broughton couldn’t be more positive about the progress he’s made with the at-times controversial project.

“The building is basically half a city block, and any building that’s been 90 percent vacant for the last four decades, if you can get people in the building, it’s a big development,” he said. “We have 90 percent of the building leased right now. It took us awhile to get there, and it’s been a painful process, but I feel like we’ve made huge strides.”

After discussing his plans to place tables around the building’s exterior and to provide free Wi-Fi to all visitors, Broughton took a moment to reflect on the continued growth of the downtown area, which he compared on a smaller scale to Kansas City’s Power and Light District and Indianapolis’ recent developments.

“This is a midsize city that’s going through the same growth process as Kansas City did in the Power and Light District, as Indianapolis has downtown,” he said. “Look at Indianapolis’ downtown over the last 10 years. That’s what is happening here. It’s not to the scale of Kansas City or Indianapolis, but it’s happening and that’s what is exciting.”

Buying into that excitement is IU Kokomo Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke, who said there were two main reasons for placing an art gallery in the Firestone Building: the reduced monthly cost and the foot traffic provided by its location.

In addition to the art gallery, Sciame-Giesecke said the space will allow for a classroom area and studio, where students and faculty can work on current projects.

“We are very excited about having a facility downtown, which we hope will allow us to get more recognition and even sell more of our work,” she said, noting that the university’s on-campus gallery will stay open. “We hope when people are having lunch or dinner or doing anything downtown, they will be able to come see our work. I think we will be a lot more visible.”

As for a timeline, Sciame-Giesecke said the gallery should be open and fully functional by February.

Providing much of the same reason for the relocation of Power 104.9, which currently operates at 1833 S. Plate St., was the station’s program director, Oliver Jackson, who also discussed the significance of such a move.

“One, it is downtown. And two, it is a historical moment, because we are Kokomo’s first urban radio station,” he said, adding that the station will move once construction is complete in the next couple of months. “Between the first urban station and the City of Firsts, why not put us in an old building like that?”

In accordance with its age, Jackson said he sees the Firestone Building as a source of reliability.

“We went through two tornadoes, so now I’m looking for more stability,” said Jackson. “And there is nothing more stable than that big building. As long as there is no earthquake, I think we are good.”

While Jackson said specific plans for the radio station’s new layout are still in motion, the goal is to provide the public with an opportunity to watch radio broadcasts from inside the building, similar to arrangements in larger cities.

Friends Gather on North Buckeye


Friends gathered on North Buckeye Street last week for the St Vincent 5 Star event host at the condo of Jeff Broughton. Great event for a great cause.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Sunday, October 18, 2015


Firestone Plaza Move in ready preparations underway.



Progress continues at The Firestone Plaza as preparations are being readied to move in our second floor tenant soon. The...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Saturday, October 17, 2015


Celbrity Lip Synch Battle 


Celebrity Lip Synch Battle to benefit Bridges Outreach

Martin Slagter Kokomo Tribune | Posted: Monday, October 19, 2015 5:30 pm

A battle for lip syncing prowess in Howard County featuring local celebrities will benefit Bridges Outreach.

Bridges will host its Celebrity Lip Synch Battle from 7 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 6 in the Central Middle School Auditorium, with “Golden Mic” awards given to the first place winner as chosen by the judges, along with a “People’s Choice” award.

Local celebrity performers will include Z92.5 FM on-air personality Jessica Green, KipCor developer Jeff Broughton, Select Equipment’s Kevin Sprinkle, Jenny Cole of Edward Jones Investments, Solutions Day Spa’s Heather Pine, Maplecrest Middle School’s Rachel Anderson and more.

The event will feature head-to-head battles between teachers from Kokomo High School and Northwestern High School, as well as professors from IU Kokomo and Ivy Tech.

Bridges Outreach administrators Travis Taflinger and Casey Cline also will go head-to-head in a lip synching battle during the friendly competition that aims to raise money to purchase a new van.

VIP tickets, which includes a gift bag, are $25, while preferred seating is $15. General admission is $10, and balcony seating is $8.

For more information visit or to purchase tickets, visit

Fade Salon helping to shape Downtown 



Definitely the anchor for this historic block's restoration. Thanks Fade Salon for being a trailblazer for Kokomo.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Wednesday, October 14, 2015



Saint Vincent 5 Star event.



Oh yeah....the food last night from the Saint Vincent Kokomo Five Star event opener that Jeff Broughton hosted at his condo Saturday evening.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Sunday, October 11, 2015



Jeff Broughton opened up his loft condo on North Buckeye Street to host the first part of the Saint Vincent Five Star...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Sunday, October 11, 2015



Another Beautiful Night In Downtown Kokomo.


Another beautiful night in downtown Kokomo. A great view from atop the Candy Shoppe on the balcony at North Buckeye Street. We love this town.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Saturday, October 10, 2015


A Sneak peek of the First Floor of the Firestone Plaza Building and What it's going to look like.



A sneak peek at what the first floor interior of the Firestone Plaza building is going to look like.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Friday, October 9, 2015


North Buckeye Street a Snap Shot in History.



North Buckeye Street then and now. Crowds gathered at the railroad station in 1918 to welcome home local soldiers from...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Firestone Plaza Progressing 



Continued progress at the Firestone Plaza as the interior gets carpeting, paint, fixtures and more while the exterior...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Monday, September 28, 2015



We've had some beautiful days to work on the Firestone Plaza building this week.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Thursday, September 17, 2015


Gabetta's going strong after 1 year


Gabetta's going strong after 1 year

By Josh Sigler Kokomo Tribune | Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2015 6:00 am

Chris Thatcher spent over two decades in the truck-driving business, delivering for area food and beverage outlets. After 24 years, he decided it was time for a change.

He saw the writing on the all. He felt his occupation was becoming a dead end as corporations made healthcare-related cutbacks.

Thatcher also had been in and out of the restaurant business for most of his life. He wondered about a career change, a change that included opening his own eatery.

As fate would have it, he was introduced to Jeff Broughton, who was in the process of revitalizing the old depot district on Buckeye Street. Broughton was looking for a homestyle-cooking type of restaurant to help fill out the district’s offerings. Thatcher jumped at the chance.

That was September of 2014. Now in business for almost exactly a year, Thatcher and the crew at Gabetta’s have learned and grown as they’ve built a plan for sustainability in their restaurant.

“You put a few more hours in than I expected,” Thatcher said. “But, every day is a learning process, trying to keep things under wraps as things change. Being down here in the depot district, business is not always consistent from one day to the next. So, learning to be able to control money is one of the biggest things we’ve had to learn.”

Thatcher has had the luxury of leaning on his mother for tips about the managerial side of the business. Debby Thatcher served as a manager at a pair of restaurants before retiring due to illness.

“She was more of the ins and outs on how to keep things going and how to deal with people,” Chris said. “She’s helped me make good decisions and given me tips on how to keep food costs low. Some of it I just kind of winged, and it’s worked well so far. We’re growing.”

Gabettas was originally just going to serve sandwiches and lunch-type items. But, from years of living in Kokomo, Chris realized there was not a strong breakfast presence in the downtown part of the city. He took advantage of that weakness and has been captureing early morning business with favorites like the Homestyle Junk Plate, a generous portion of hash browns with two eggs, drowned in Colby jack cheese, alongside bacon or sausage and “fixins.”

Business has grown enough that Gabettas was able to begin serving dinner in recent months.

“We’re just trying to make sure that we serve good food all the time,” Thatcher said. “I choose all of our own products. There’s nothing I haven’t tasted to make sure it’s good before we serve it to the public. We have a lot of good workers and friends who have supported us.”

Chris knows there are still some struggles in owning a business downtown. One particular challenge he sees is getting people comfortable with frequenting downtown shops while having to walk to their destination.

He explained the city has been a major help in remedying that problem. Events like First Friday have created a level of excitement associated with visiting the downtown area.

“Where I may not have some of the funding, they’ll throw things in,” Chris said. “First Friday really helps out. It brings people down here all the time that still don’t know the area or what’s going on down here. The expansion of everything, with things like the new apartments and the new YMCA going up, will only continue to help things grow downtown.

“The future feels bright as long as we don’t cannibalize each other,” he added. “The only tough thing is parking. People have gotten used to parking right in front of the store they are going to. We have to get them used to walking, because the downtown here is moving toward more of a walking atmosphere, something like you see in the Carmel or Broad Ripple areas.”


Firestone Plaza - Elevator shaft going in.. 



Work on the elevator shaft for the Firestone Plaza continues. HVAC, lighting and carpeting is next for the second floor.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Way To Go Kokomo



Way to go Kokomo

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Thursday, August 27, 2015


Kipcor Softball Team



Congratulations to the Kipcor softball team, Kokomo Men's Division II Tournament Champions. Andy Hardie, Mike Shearer,...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Downtown hitting its stride


Downtown hitting its stride

Pat Munsey | Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2015 10:00 am

Downtown Kokomo has changed so much since 2010 that a person visiting for the first time in years might feel a bit like Rip Van Winkle. The experience is jarringly different. In fact, it appears that the city’s center my be hitting its stride.

The addition of Kokomo Municipal Stadium is the latest highlight in this transformative era. In just two months, it attracted more than 31,000 people downtown to enjoy the inaugural season of the Kokomo Jackrabbits baseball team. And that meant more traffic for downtown shops and restaurants.

But the buzz in the city’s core started much earlier, and it is only growing. Shawn Hilton opened his shop, Comics Cubed, in 2010, just as downtown Kokomo began its resurgence. He is convinced it is the best move he could have made.

“I’m still very happy that I made the decision to come downtown,” said Hilton. “I honestly believe that my business is a destination. People will come find it. But the amount of attractions and attention that downtown has received has helped out quite a bit.

“I get foot traffic by being here that I don’t know I could have gotten elsewhere. In downtown, there are people constantly walking through to get to different places.”

Hilton said that events like First Friday, the Strawberry Festival, the Summer Concert Series, and other attractions have exposed his business to new customers, as has the baseball stadium. And as a result, he was willing to help usher in additional businesses to downtown -- Kokomo Toys and Goblin Games.

“I was lucky enough to help bring two additional stores like mine to downtown,” said Hilton. “Together, we have created our own niche that has helped us gain more customers than we could have gained single-handedly. Kokomo Toys has been a huge benefit to my store, and they are great to work with. Overall, it has been a very positive experience.”

That’s not to say that doing business in downtown is always easy. Portions of the neighborhood have been under construction for most of the past two years, which has put pressure on Hilton’s business from time to time.

“If any business had a right to complain, it would be mine,” said Hilton. “With the advancements we have seen in the construction of the parking garage and apartments and now the new YMCA, the parking in front of my store gets blocked a lot. But these are just growing pains. I’ll suffer through them because I will get to benefit from the end result. The wait will be very worthwhile.”

Todd Rudicel is a newer denizen of downtown. He opened The District a little more than a year ago, hoping to add to the dining and nightlife options. He is pleased with the results.

“I am extremely happy with the response and love that Kokomo has shown us,” said Rudicel. “I didn’t know what to expect coming to downtown. Cook McDoogal’s had been holding down the fort pretty much by themselves. We didn’t know if we could penetrate the market, but we were able to do so. It has been fantastic. We celebrated our first year with a bang, and it has been going great ever since.”

Rudicel explained that he has heard naysaying from some about downtown’s growth -- the inevitable failure of some businesses. Of the 30 new businesses that have located in downtown and sought economic development incentives from Howard County since 2010, nine of them have relocated or shut their doors. That’s just part of the process, he said.

“With any downtown area, you will see businesses come and go,” said Rudicel. “We have seen some shops close, which you never want to see, but they are refilled almost immediately. The city has done a great job of attracting businesses to downtown. We’re very excited to see Boondock’s open in a few weeks. It will bring a set of new traffic that may not have come downtown.”

Matthew Rust opened Oscar’s Pizza six months ago in the Buckeye Street business district, and the result are better than he expected. Already, he has retired most of his debt and has given raises to his staff. But he wasn’t certain at first how the downtown experience would treat him.

“I didn’t know if the location would work,” said Rust. “But the Industrial Heritage trail brings foot traffic, and the Farmer’s Market is a big help on Saturdays. The Brews on Buckeye event a couple of weeks ago was just amazing. We were packed. It was our second best day ever.

“I had no idea I would do this well. I had some projections, but it has shot way past that. If they put some businesses in the train depot, I can see the whole downtown exploding. I was riding my bike in downtown recently on a Thursday evening. The place was packed. I was amazed at how many people were downtown. That’s cool. I can remember when you could see tumbleweeds rolling around down here.”

Susan Alexander, Manager of Downtown Initiatives for the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, has had a front-row seat for the downtown transformation. She explained that the center of the community is designed to be the gathering place for a city. So, improving its presentation and functionality is vital to the community’s success.

“I believe there is no one silver bullet that creates the success like downtown is enjoying,” said Alexander. “It’s the combination of powerful efforts in many sectors and from many directions that makes the difference.”

Alexander cited the city’s beautification efforts, development strategy, and focus on residential density, coupled with Howard County’s economic development incentive program, engaged business community, and aggressive developers as reasons why the community is embracing the changes in downtown.

She also noted that the several community events which take place throughout the year assist in bringing arts and culture to downtown.

“I have enjoyed watching downtown become the place to enjoy the talent of our many artists and musicians,” said Alexander. “I particularly love that First Friday has grown into an inclusive and engaging arts experience. Recently, a local business person was mentioning how proud he was of our First Friday and how he thought folks did not realize the energy that it brings to Kokomo. He travels widely and said our event stands out in comparison to other places.

“I think we have done a good job facilitating the space for folks to gather and inviting everyone to be there. But, the key to its success is really in the people who do show up to perform, to share their art, to see friends and to celebrate our community.”

Alexander explained that she has been contacted by individuals and business owners from other communities who are impressed when they have the opportunity to visit Kokomo’s downtown. They use words like “revolutionary,” “impressive,” “alive,” and “inviting” when they describe their experience. And they often seek to take ideas home to implement in their own communities.

It is the cooperation of everyone that makes the difference, she said.

“We have a community full of people willing to be responsible for making the kind of community in which they want to live and work,” said Alexander. “Our community can only rise as high as its members are willing to make the effort to get us there, together.”

Out-of-state kids work to provide kokomo with affordable housing




Kokomo experiencing building boom in response to economy




Brews On Buckeye  Photos by Patrick Davis



Great photos from Brews on Buckeye. What a super cool event for Kokomo and to highlight N. Buckeye Street and the Depot District.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Monday, August 3, 2015


CNBC Ranks Hoosier State as #1 forCost of Doing Business


CNBC Ranks Hoosier State as #1 for Cost of Doing Business

Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2015 8:00 pm - Click here to Read full article 

INDIANAPOLIS (June 30, 2015) – Indiana ranked first in the nation for cost of doing business, as well as eighth for its economy, in the recent CNBC “America’s Top States for Business 2015” scorecard.

“In a world where competition for job creation is tougher than ever, Indiana stands as the number one state for business affordability,” said Governor Mike Pence. “Businesses choose Indiana because growing here means focusing on job creation and investment, not taxes, regulation or other job-killing expenses. Today Indiana is on the cusp of reaching a historic peak employment level because companies grow here with confidence, making the Hoosier economy one of the strongest in the nation.”

According to CNBC, cost of doing business scores are based on each state’s tax climate, state-sponsored incentives and utility and rental costs. Economy rankings consider economic growth, job creation, consumer spending, major corporation headquarters and the residential real estate market. In addition, the economic ranking serves as a measure of each state’s fiscal health based on credit ratings and outlook, state revenues and budget projections.

Indiana’s personal tax rate is scheduled to reduce to 3.23 percent by 2017, with the 2013 passage of largest tax decrease in state history. In 2014, Governor Pence signed legislation also placing Indiana’s corporate tax on a reduction schedule, which is decreasing to 4.9 percent by 2021. Combined with Indiana’s AAA credit rating from all three major credit rating agencies, Indiana’s economy stands out around the world as a stable and affordable choice for business.

This news comes on the heels of Indiana’s recent recognition as the top state in the Midwest and sixth nationwide for doing business by Chief Executive magazine. Last year, Indiana was ranked best in the Midwest and 7th overall in Area Development magazine’s “Top States for Doing Business” as well as best in the Midwest and 7th in the nation in the Pollina Corporate “Top 10 Pro-Business States for 2014” study.

America's Top States for Business 2015 - CNBC Clobal CFo Council Chart.  (Click Here to see)

National magazinegives Kokomo High Economic development rankingbased on US City's

From staff reports | Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 4:45 pm - read article on Kokomo Tribune

Area Development, an economic development magazine for expanding companies, ranked Kokomo 15th in the nation Tuesday in its list of "Leading Locations" for 2015.

The publication analyzed workforce data for 373 metropolitan statistical areas to determine which U.S. cities are creating and nurturing sustainable economic development.  

Among MSAs with populations less than 160,000, Kokomo ranked second in Indiana, behind Columbus.

“The ranking is another indicator of Kokomo’s robust economy and the momentum our community continues to build,” said Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight in a press release. “Since 2009, Kokomo has recorded private investments totaling more than $2 billion. The city of Kokomo has focused on strategic investments for infrastructure and developing key assets that add value to our community.”

Kokomo’s current, 15-year low, 5 percent unemployment rate was cited with other economic strengths in the magazine’s economic forecast for the region. The latest unemployment figures place Kokomo's unemployment rate lower than Indiana as a whole.

“Over the last year, employment growth has been broad-based, with exceptional growth in high-paying manufacturing and technical jobs,” the report stated.

Key indicators for continued job growth in Kokomo included the area’s low cost of doing business, affordable housing, cost of living and Chrysler’s expanding capacity.  

Scotty's Brewhouse "85 Percent likely opening in Kokomo




Firestone Plaza - More painting and trim work going on this week



More painting and trim going up at the Firestone Plaza building.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Tuesday, June 16, 2015


3 Amigos booming in early stages





After public projects,private investment begins to flow in


After public projects, private investment begins to flow in

By Josh Sigler | Posted: Sunday, June 14, 2015 6:00 am

The city of Kokomo has seen a major influx of publicly-funded building projects in the last five years.

All six city fire stations are either newly built or remodeled.

City Hall received a $600,000 makeover last year.

The Kokomo Jackrabbits are now playing baseball in a $9 million stadium which is nearing completion, right down the street from a new $9 million parking garage.

Across the street, a state-of-the-art, $16 million YMCA is taking shape, a project the city is a secondary signatory on.

Naturally, the city has seen a decline in new public projects in 2015, but with that investment put in, the private projects are now beginning to flourish.

In the first five and a half months of the year, 115 building permits have been pulled for nearly $7 million worth of private projects around the city.

“It’s exciting,” Kokomo mayor Greg Goodnight said. “This is just the amount people are seeking permits for. This doesn’t include projects people were seeking permits for last year that are still in the works, like the apartments above the parking garage. It’s a great sign. I think most people realize construction jobs have a huge benefit in that you have suppliers and sub-contractors – there’s just a lot of money that’s tied to this.”

Kokomo hosted the Indiana Conference of Mayors last week, a chance to put the city’s new face on display. It didn’t disappoint, Goodnight said, as he received countless positive comments about the overhaul the city has seen in recent years.

LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo hadn’t been to Kokomo in years, but was meeting with a relative from Indianapolis and wanted to split the drive by meeting them somewhere in the middle. After seeing what Kokomo had to offer, she chose Kokomo, and fell in love with downtown.

“I don’t think that would’ve happened if we hadn’t hosted the mayor’s conference and had something to showcase our city,” Goodnight said. “I don’t think that would’ve happened a few years ago.

“I think people see the things we started a few years ago … now they see it’s caused a huge amount of private investment,” he added. “Some people criticize the things going on, but the truth of it is most of it has been private investment. It’s not public dollars. The public dollars were infused and now the private dollars are coming. It has to work in conjunction. If you don’t invest in your community, don’t expect large corporations, small corporations, and small businesses to invest in your community.”

Just outside downtown, a neglected area on Apperson Way North soon will receive a facelift. The city announced in early March that Whitsett Group and Company will build a $9.5 million, 69-unit apartment complex at the intersection of Apperson Way and Jefferson Street, with the help of nearly $1 million in rental housing tax credits from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

“This is a chance for between $9 and $10 million investment on the near east side of Kokomo,” Goodnight said. “It cleans up some properties I think most would consider blighted, and it gives a chance for a new investment with federal tax credits. It’s giving a chance for affordable housing for the area, and it improves the values of the homes in the neighboring areas.”

City of Kokomo Location Improvement Permits

Type Number  
Business Building Additions (2) 1 $300,000
Businesss Building 1 $236,000
Carport 1 $3,000
Community Services Building 1 $1,000,000
Convenience Store & Gas Canopy 1 $800,000
Deck 2 $3,764
Duplex-Condo 1 $220,000
Entrance Kiosk 1 $1,000
Garage-Attached 1 unknown
Garage-Detached 8 $167,800
House Addition 7 $172,7000
House & Garage 25 $3,154,816
House Only 2 $134,000
Mini-Warehouse 1 $72,000
Mobile-Home-Temporary 1 $27,783
Modular Classroom 1 $65,000
Monopole tower 1 $200,000
Pool – In ground 4 $150,032
Porch/Patio 1 $11,624
Sign-ground 2 $57,500
Sign-permanent 2 $17,000
Sign-pole 4 $11,500
Sign-residential gateway 1 $1,070
Sign-temporary 12 $9,000
Sign-wall 23 $38,990
Special exception for home 1 unknown
Storage building 4 $8,500
Storage building w/ deck 1 $2,500
Temporary Sales Structure 2 $19,000
Trailer-scale house 1 $30,000
Walk-in freezers (2) 1 $5,000
Grand total 115 $6,919,579

Hoffer Street is also continuing to see significant improvements after suffering major destruction from the tornado that ripped through the city in November of 2013.

UAW Local 685’s new offices and meeting hall is nearly complete, as are a pair of Habitat for Humanity houses. Local 685 hopes to begin moving into its new facility this month.

The Kokomo Humane Society has acquired land at the intersection of Home Avenue and Hoffer Street, and plans to build and relocate there once its capital campaign is complete.

“There’s more to do, but it’s always refreshing to see those buildings going up and the construction barrels,” Goodnight said. “I always say, if I have to hear saws and see brick dust, I’m OK with that. Those are inconveniences I will gladly live with.”

It’s been a prosperous year for the county, as well. Improvement location permits show that more than $8 million worth of new projects have been started in the first half of 2015.

“The most exciting part is it creates a larger tax base for us,” county commissioner Paul Wyman explained. “With a larger tax base, that helps everybody’s property taxes stay a little bit lower. It also insures government has enough money to provide the essential services that the taxpayers expect. The other aspect is it’s exciting for us to see growth happening again. There was a period of time where building projects and new construction was almost at a standstill. Now, we’re seeing it coming back in a pretty strong mode. That type of growth and development is exciting for Howard County.”

A major chunk of the investment in the county is coming in the form of facility upgrades at Western School Corporation. A new multi-purpose building is in the works, as are upgrades to the football stadium, concession areas, restrooms and weight room.

“We’re very blessed in Howard County because all five of our school systems do an incredibly good job,” Wyman said. “When you see a school like Western making that type of investment, and see our schools continue to improve, what ends up happening is people want to live in Howard County because their kids can go to a quality school. People moving to our community is one of the best things that can happen for us from a growth perspective. In fact, it’s probably better if we have 200 people move to our community than it is to gain 200 jobs. Then, people are living here, spending their incomes here and helping small businesses grow, which in turn would create jobs in and of itself. Anytime we see improvements to schools, infrastructure or anything to do with quality of life, it makes people want to live here, and that’s positive for Howard County.”

Along with private investment and infrastructure improvements, job creation is imperative to the continued growth of the city and county.

Howard County Location Improvement Permits

Type Number Estimated Cost
Carport 1 $3,535
Chicken Coop 1 $1,000
Deck 1 $20,000
Garage-addition 2 $38,000
Garage-attached 1 $3,500
Garage-detached 5 $120,000
Greenhouse 1 $96,000
House 2 $367,600
House addition 1 $31,500
House & Garage 3 $1,048,000
House & Garage-detached 1 $200,000
House-manufactured 1 $20,000
Lean to pole barn 1 $1,200
Multi-purpose building 1 $5,428,812
Permanent sign 1 $816
Pole Barn 9 $308,062
School addition 1 $330,000
Storage bldg.-Bus & restrooms 1 $56,000
Swimming pool 1 $4,300
Wall sign 2 $3,400

In 2009 and 2010, local unemployment peaked out at 20 percent, and four out of every 10 homes that were being sold in the county were as a result of foreclosure.

Today, with the help of these investments, unemployment is under 5 percent and the foreclosure rate has shrunk to 1.7 out of 10.

“We’ve seen a dramatic improvement in jobs, incomes for families, and quality of life,” Wyman said. “That’s causing people to want to live here, so much so that we’ve seen a slight increase in population in the county when people were predicting we were going to lose population. We really have a lot of things going positively for us. Continuing to build on that forward momentum is incredibly important.”

June First Friday on Buckeye St.



some June First Friday on N. Buckeye Street photos....

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Sunday, June 7, 2015




3 Amigos Update 




Firestone Building construction moves onward

By George Myers | Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2015 6:00 am

Shortly after Jeff Broughton acquired the Firestone Building in November 2013, he began to develop a vision – one that included restaurant, retail and small business opportunities. Now, that vision, albeit slowly, is beginning to take shape.

Built initially as a parking garage in 1930, the building’s renovation, both internally and externally, has come as no easy task for Broughton, head developer for KipCor Inc. As the owner of 22 commercial properties in Kokomo, many of them on Buckeye Street, Broughton was well aware of how to take on a local redevelopment project.

“This was exactly my vision, and there really isn’t anything that has changed,” said Broughton of the building at 219 N. Union St. “It’s not moving as quickly as I hoped it would, and I didn’t know who the tenants would be, but this is pretty much what I was thinking would happen.

“I wish it would have gone faster, but it is what it is. I wanted to make sure some of the other things we were working on would be completed. Overall, I feel good about the progress. I’ve got a big foothold here, and many things are going well.”

The building’s physical and financial future truly began to be revealed following the October arrival of the Indiana Behavior Analysis Academy and subsequent lease agreements with West Lafayette-based Child and Family Partners Inc. and Nexient, formerly known as Systems in Motion. These agreements, which include a planned 1,100 square foot office expansion by IBAA, have allowed Broughton to hone in on the construction process.

“With our expansion, we expect to be able to support an additional 10 children,” said Board Certified Behavior Analyst Lisa Steward. “We love the space and the location, and we look forward to the building being completed. It sounds like there are going to be a lot of nice opportunities and the aesthetic improvements will be great.”

The building’s biggest catch, Nexient, a tech firm based out of Newark, California, announced plans to bring roughly 240 jobs to the Firestone Building during a ceremony on June 30. The company, which previously said it could lease up to 25,000 square feet, is expected to utilize the entire second floor, according to Broughton.

Broughton was unable to provide a timeline for the construction and its expected finish date, but he noted that Nexient and CFP would move into the building as soon as the process is completed. For CFP, that moment may be near, as carpeting and general cleanup are the space's only remaining tasks.

“We are working as fast as we can,” said Broughton, referring to the entire building. “All of the rough plumbing has been finished, and we hope to have portions of the drywall finished in the next couple days… We had an engineer come in and inspect the building. He has approved everything we have done.”

Although the building’s structure has been declared sound, the California-based developer has self-admittedly been inundated with a variety of issues, including broken and inadequately placed windows, ceiling construction and extensive tar removal.

Not only is Broughton attempting to resurrect the building’s original appearance – an effort aided by the August purchase of a retro-style sign – he hopes to provide leasers and customers with a modern experience, complete with a downstairs café and luxurious corner offices.

Planned for the first-floor corner near the intersection of Mulberry and Union streets, the café is expected to provide both coffee and dining options, which Steward said is an exciting proposal for the people currently working in the facility.

“It will be great to have a place to get caffeine in the morning and lunch in the afternoon,” Steward said. “We are ecstatic that Firestone seems to be the center of [Jeff’s] work at this moment. We think he has good intentions, and we are excited to have things rolling with the development of the building.”

The largest-scale planning, however, has come in the form of a proposed elevator, which would travel to the building’s roof – a spot Broughton has discussed with people throughout the community.

“We have talked about having an open area with a seasonal restaurant where people can come and enjoy a meal,” said Broughton, who noted the company planning the café is the same one behind the rooftop discussions. “We’ve also been contacted by an organization about turning the area into a community garden.”

Even with the presence of such mutually beneficial discussions, however, Broughton said he has felt the impact of negative political forces – an experience he claimed had nothing to do with current city officials.

“I have never had to deal with the politics like I have with my work here,” said Broughton. “A lot more could be accomplished without all of the political things going on. I’m not a politician and I’m not trying to get re-elected, so it is all very disappointing. Some people want me to leave, but I'm in too deep for that.

“Since I’ve been here, the city has been great to work with," he later added. "I couldn’t have asked for a better city to work on my projects with. And really, most of the community has shown a lot of support.”

To build upon those current community relationships, Broughton is hoping to increase the building’s reputation as an option for community events, specifically fundraisers. In May 2014, the Firestone Building played host to a YMCA fundraiser during the Beyond the Bricks kickoff celebration, drawing over 1,000 attendees.

Broughton is eager to replicate the experience.

“Any fundraisers are more than welcome to come here,” Broughton said. “As long as I have space available I am willing to give it to fundraisers for events. We had a lot of people at the previous fundraiser and I think it would be good to have another."

Read on Kokomo Tribune

Keep Kokomo Beautiful - sign up for the Annual Flower Planting




Fade Salon 507 N. Buckeye St.



Fade Salon at 507 N. Buckeye Street always brings the style and the fun. A great place to check out when you are downtown (or make a special trip to see them)

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Tuesday, May 12, 2015


This is the way we always Envisioned N Buckeye St.



This is the way we always envisioned N. Buckeye Street, people walking around visiting the shops and enjoying downtown...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Sunday, May 3, 2015


May First Friday



May First Friday was a great success as Kokomo continues to show that the downtown is vibrant and fun. The whole...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Saturday, May 2, 2015


CobbleStone Suite's 



Coming soon to N. Buckeye Street in downtown Kokomo - Cobblestone Suites. Executive suites for overnight, short term or...

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Sunday, April 12, 2015


Oscar's Pizza



Soon the patio at Oscar's Pizza will be done and you will be able to enjoy pizza with outside seating. This will be a great addition to N. Buckeye Street !!

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Comedy Showcase at Mulligan's

Mulligan’s Sports Pub will once again be hosting a free comedy show on Sunday.
The show will take place at 7 p.m. at Mulligan’s, located at1134 Home Ave. 
This week’s headliner is Chicago’s Collin Bullock, who is known from his appearances on Sirius XM radio’s Mancow in the Morning. 
Co-features for the performance include Neil Snyder and Jon Kuhn, while Dan West will emcee the event.

Rebuilding Downtown - Kokomo


Rebuilding downtown

By Josh Sigler Kokomo Tribune | Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015 3:06 pm

As a child, Jeff Broughton loved visiting downtown Kansas City during Christmas time.

All the retail businesses dressed up their windows with extravagant displays. People came from near and far to marvel at the storefronts of places like Macy’s, Gimbels and Katz Drugs.

Shortly thereafter, in the 1960s and early '70s, urban sprawl started and shopping malls came with it. The mass exodus of the business districts and residential areas destroyed downtowns.

As Broughton looked back at pictures of Kokomo from the '50s and '60s, he saw a downtown that was bustling. The arrival of big box stores like Walmart made shopping a convenient, one-stop experience, leaving those businesses on the courthouse square with no way to maintain a livelihood.

Many small towns were left in shambles by that shift. Broughton sees Kokomo as a lucky city. It’s the county seat able to take advantage of all of the business the courthouse provides.

Relatively small towns like Kokomo across the nation have seen attorney’s offices take over the majority of the office space in downtown.

“[Mayor] Greg Goodnight’s vision is he wants to slowly and methodically move those attorneys back to the second levels and bring retail and restaurants and clubs back down to the downtown area,” Broughton said. “If I were to create a Petri dish with the perfect opportunity for a guy like me, it’s Kokomo. In the time I’ve been here, I’ve never brought one of my [past] investors [to town who] didn’t invest here.”

A real estate developer by trade, Broughton had been buying non-performing notes across the country when he arrived in Kokomo in August of 2013.

In Kokomo, he owned percentages of 17 or 18 properties, but he had never been to the city. He received word from his office that he had a house in town that was scheduled to be condemned.

He came to Kokomo to smooth things over and reassure those in charge that he just needed time to work on the house in question.

He happened to show up a few minutes before a Board of Public Works meeting. He wasn’t dressed for it, but decided to go anyway.

He acquainted himself with city brass, and 18 months later, he now owns 22 commercial buildings in Kokomo. What he’s done with those properties in such a short time is not short of awe-inspiring.

His efforts to revitalize the old train depot district on Buckeye Street really stand out, taking portions of the old Tudor and Currens-Zapfe buildings — parts of which hadn’t been inhabited for decades — and transforming them into modernized retail shops.

“I’ve always had that ‘it takes a village’ mentality,” Broughton said. “One person isn’t going to make it happen. I come in here and try to do what I can, but without the support of the city and others in town, it couldn’t happen.”

In just a short time, businesses such as Gingerbread House Bakery have relocated to the depot district, while new business ventures, such as Gabetta’s Restaurant, The Candy Shoppe, and Oscar’s Pizza have popped up in the spruced up buildings.

In addition, Broughton has attracted barbecue-themed and Mexican restaurants to Buckeye Street, and a white building next to Oscar’s Pizza is being developed into retail space, with leases signed on two of the four spaces.

In addition, portions of the second floor of the depot district buildings are being developed into what Broughton refers to as "executive stays," a private hotel where each room will be equipped with its own kitchen and television. Room service will be available from the restaurants downstairs, as well as access to a gym and laundry areas.

“On Buckeye Street specifically, I’ve had a lot of support from the community,” Broughton said. “We walk the street, and if you look, I had a rendering of this street done about a year ago. And if you look at that rendering and compare it to what we’ve done, it’s exactly the same. We were able to do a lot on the street this year.

“The city was instrumental in helping us with the streets and sidewalks. We got great guys like Matt and Lauren [Gaines from Gingerbread House] downstairs. Those are the hardest working people I’ve ever met. They are just amazing. [Gabetta’s owner] Chris Thatcher, I hear him in the alley at 3 in the morning working. Those type of people — I’ll do anything I can to help them if they want to help themselves.”

Broughton’s business, Kipcor, has also gone to work on the old Firestone Building on North Union Street, where redevelopment efforts have attracted the Indiana Behavior Analysis Academy. A portion of the building was recently leased as office space, while the second floor is being developed for Systems in Motion, a California-based software developer.

“For the last year, success wise, if anything, I’ve gotten an opportunity to meet some great people here in Kokomo that have been supportive,” Broughton said. “I wish everything would’ve gone quicker, but I’m going as fast as I can and am committed to this market and have no plans to leave.

“We’ve had amazing success with it in just a short time of being in there. These [tenants] are all people who are committed to their business.”

In addition, he’s attracted L.A. Auto Gear, a California-based auto parts distributor to town, and has entered business ventures with various other owners at clubs and bars such as The District, The Coterie, Halftime Sports Bar & Grill, The Social and Mulligan’s.

Further, he has a hand in student housing developments for Kokomo’s international school.

And he’s not done yet.

“I have some projects going on right now that I’m not at liberty to talk about, some of which will bring a number of jobs to town,” he said. "But, I just want to get finished with the stuff I’m working on.

“It takes a village,” he repeated. “I have met some of the most amazing people, life-long friends, here. I love it. No one has to thank me. Their continued efforts to help me tells me volumes. The city has been amazing to work with. Amazing.”


Spotlight on Enterprenuers - The Coterie

Spotlight on Entreprenuers: The Coterie

The Candy Shoppe - Easter is just around the corner.



Have you started getting supplies for Easter baskets yet? The Candy shoppe at 501 N. Buckeye Street has al the favorites plus new items.

Posted by Kipcor Inc. on Thursday, March 26, 2015


Kokomo named most affordable place to live for retirees

Kokomo named most affordable place to live for retirees

Posted: Kokomoperspective - Monday, March 23, 2015 12:00 pm

According to U.S. News and World Report, the city of Kokomo is the 11th most affordable place in the U.S. to buy a retirement home. The publication analyzed census bureau data to find the 50 most affordable places where homeowners over 65 pay the least amount of monthly housing costs, with and without a mortgage.

Kokomo’s housing costs are a median of $865 per month for people age 65 and older with a mortgage and $322 for seniors with paid-off homes.

Kokomo was joined by seven other Indiana cities on the list. No other state placed more cities in the ranking.

Read in the Kokomoperspective


 Sandra Bush opened her business, Sandra D’s Salon and Spa, in downtown Kokomo nearly 20 years ago, first on Mulberry Street before moving to Main Street in 2001. More recently, the salon underwent an expansion in the law office next door, bringing in a massage room, boutique, and pedicure stations.

Bush was one of the business owners who gathered for Downtown Association’s first quarterly meeting, which rounded up downtown’s entrepreneurs, and she was one veteran business owner who could vouch for the increasing downtown energy through the success she’s seen in her own business.

“Downtown is the place to be. I love what’s happening,” she said. “I come from a big city, Milwaukee, Wis., so when you go to a big city, you want to see the downtown. I’m excited about what’s happening in our downtown, making it look like a big city.”

Susan Alexander, facilitator with the Downtown Association, said 2014 proved to be a big year for the heart of the city, which netted 11 new businesses and finished the year with a nearly 93 percent occupancy rate on the ground level in the core district. The district also moved $11 million in private investment.

“We’re excited about the momentum that has taken place, and we’re just excited about the momentum in Kokomo,” Alexander said.


 This year also has been off to a strong start, with the recent openings of Oscar’s Pizza, Halfway There, and Candy Shoppe. More businesses still are slated to open in the coming months too. Set to open below Bethea’s Karate Studio on Sycamore Street is Jitterbug & Co. by owner Chantel Harlan. The retail store will feature a variety of home décor items. The store is expected to open early next month.

More food variety is on the way too, with a Mexican restaurant and a smokehouse barbecue restaurant lined up to make their home in the Buckeye block.

The Buckeye block saw significant development over the last year and now has a whole new look with new businesses located off the brick road, like Gabetta’s, which sits behind outdoor tables and chairs, The Gingerbread House that settled in next door, along with the Candy Shoppe that already has been home to family-friendly events, and Oscar’s Pizza that boasts a niche menu along with regular pizza-fixings.

“We have developers that are investing. We have new businesses that are taking a chance. It’s a risky thing to move to come down to open a business in the best of times, and we have people, the greatest people, who come together and help their neighbors and do marketing and think of quirky things to do together to market the businesses,” said Alexander. “We create an atmosphere, and we give people an experience in downtown that they can’t get anywhere else.”

One of the marketing ventures that the business owners agreed has been a plus to the downtown has been First Friday, which celebrated its two-year anniversary last month. The monthly event draws in foot traffic in this after-hours event, which allows many people to get inside businesses that wouldn’t typically be open after business hours and also brings in additional customers to the businesses with longer hours.

“I really appreciate the First Fridays. They really help us out a lot,” said Chris Thatcher of Gabetta’s, the family-style restaurant that opened late last year.

But more than just the customers, business owners like Amber Jordan of Kokomo Toys, said the events help bring an atmosphere to the downtown that entices people to comeback.

“I don’t know what it is about it. It’s the community down here,” she said. “We like it, and we want to see it grow. We’re so excited for all the new development, all the new businesses that come down here,” she said.

Kokomo Toys celebrated its one-year anniversary downtown last month.

The business owners also discussed their favorite parts of being downtown, which covered everything from the new businesses to the atmosphere to the new and increased visitors to the bike paths and flowers.

They also compiled a list of what could be approved upon. Suggestions included more brick streets, bury the utilities, fix potholes, bring in more diversity among retail stores, add a parking garage on the north side of downtown, and open a grocery store.

First Friday on North Buckeye





$9.5 Million apartment complex Coming to KoKomo



Oscars Pizza arrives in downtown

By Pat Munsey | Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:00 am

Pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms... egg?

One of these things doesn’t seem to fit when thinking of pizza toppings, but Kokomo diners now have the chance to try them all and more.

Oscar’s Pizza, located in the quickly-developing 500 block of North Buckeye Street, opened last week, offering traditional and not-so-traditional hand-tossed pies.

According to owner Matthew Rust, his eatery will be known for quality and taste.

“It is going to be hopefully the best pizza in town,” said Rust. “It will have handmade dough, hand-grated cheese, fresh ingredients -- the best-tasting stuff that I know. And they’re baked in a stone oven.”

Rust has worked in the pizza business for two years, but decided owning his own business was an opportunity he couldn’t decline.

“(Developers) Jeff Broughton of KipCor and Scott Pitcher came to me and asked what I thought about running my own shop in downtown,” said Rust. “I would have been an idiot to turn it down. You can either work for somebody or work for yourself. I didn’t have the means to do it myself, but I’m willing to put in the work.”

Rust spent months perfecting his recipes and developing the Oscar’s Pizza menu. Naturally, there is plenty of pizza, but he also offers caprese and kale salads -- lighter, healthier choices for those looking for a change of pace. And he is committed to utilizing locally-grown ingredients whenever possible. As such, diners should expect to see the menu change from time to time.

“The menu will change with the seasons and what is available,” said Rust. “When there are great tomatoes, they’ll be on my menu. When I can get things locally grown, I will. Like my eggs. They’re coming from a local farmer who has pasture-raised chickens fed an organic diet.”

There are those eggs again. How do they fit into a pizza menu?

“I’ll have a classic margarita pizza, but I’ll add an over easy egg on top,” said Rust. “That’s one of my favorites. “I’ll also have bacon and cheese breadsticks. I think they’ll be a big hit. I’ll have all of the standard pizzas -- pepperoni, sausage, all-meat, deluxe.

“I really like fixing food and seeing people’s reaction to it. I know it tastes good, but when somebody else tells me it tastes good, that’s when it is rewarding.”

Diners also will have plenty to talk about while they wait, as the decor of the store is eclectic to say the least. Elephants, wildcats, and fish adorn the walls, and there is a feeling in the place that evokes the turn of the 20th century, as if a barbershop quartet might step out and give an impromptu performance.

Oscar’s held a soft opening on Feb. 23, but visitors will get a great opportunity to experience the pizza when First Friday rolls around on March 6. This grand opening evening will feature slices of pizza for $1 and Coke for $1. How better to try a new restaurant than with a $2 meal?

Oscars Pizza Now Open 515 N. Buckeye St Dwontown Kokomo

Oscar's Pizza is open now! Stop in at 515 N. Buckeye Street in downtown Kokomo and see the newest addition to N. Buckeye Street businesses. Have a slice!

Feb 4th Mayor refutes Dunn;s green bashing

Mayor refutes Dunn’s green bashing

By Patrick Munsey staff writer | Posted: Thursday, February 4, 2010 1:00 am

The federal economic stimulus — known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — has reached Kokomo in several ways. One of them was in the form of a U.S. Department of Energy grant to be used for improving energy efficiency and initiating “green” projects in the community.

Last week, Howard County Republican Party chairman Craig Dunn took aim at the city administration for utilizing the grant for what he termed “nonsense.”

“The clean technologies or ‘green’ industries are a pipe dream, similar to the hoopla around ethanol,” said Dunn. “I find it almost laughable the mayor’s touting of K Fuel. As a taxpayer I find it abhorrent that we would be looking at spending $260,000 of the stimulus money to study putting a green roof on City Hall and retrofit lights in the parks for efficiency and nonsense like that.”

There are a couple of problems with Dunn’s statement, according to mayor Greg Goodnight. First of all, he mixed up the grants. Secondly, K Fuel isn’t involved.

“It wasn’t $260,000; it was $214,600,” said Goodnight. “And K Fuel has nothing to do with it. There is $17,950 that goes to study a City Hall lighting retrofit, and $196,650 goes for new efficient lighting along the Walk of Excellence, at the Foster Park tennis courts and basketball court, and along the walk trail at Jackson Morrow Park.”

Dunn may have been confused by the fact that three separate ARRA grants have been awarded specifically to the city of Kokomo. The $214,600 grant is targeted for exactly what Goodnight detailed, as well as for a feasibility study for a green roof, as Dunn asserted. The $260,000 grant ($265,707 actually) was a Community Development Block Grant devoted to sidewalk replacement projects. This grant, according to, was responsible for creating or saving nine jobs in the local community.

The third grant, worth $30,000, comes from the U.S. Department of Justice by way of the Indiana State Police. It is intended to subsidize the employment of an Internet crimes against children analyst within the Kokomo Police Department.

Goodnight expressed frustration at Dunn’s criticism, as the grant was narrow in scope and will be used to meet a demand identified by the community.

“None of it is for salaries; none of it is for K Fuel,” said Goodnight. “It’s a grant. This isn’t me taking general fund tax money. I couldn’t use the grant for anything other than these types of projects. And I think these are good things. The lighting is in the parks department’s five-year plan which was developed with full community input.

“He’s just putting a cloud over a good thing. My point is, I’m not getting into a fight with Mr. Dunn. I wish he would have called to get good information instead of saying things that just aren’t true. I don’t know where he got his facts.”

According to, 24 ARRA-generated grants have been awarded to entities within Howard County totalling $18,606,439. In addition, the 2009 remediation projects at the Continental Steel Superfund site were funded through an ARRA-based contract in the amount of $5,227,050.

Feb 14th Valentines Day Queen Elsa will be at The Candy Shoppe

We have HUGE news to announce! Queen Elsa heard about the new candy store in Kokomo and is taking a short vacation from Arendelle to come visit us! Bring the kids to The Candy Shoppe this Saturday for a chance to meet Elsa, get pictures with her, and hear her sing their favorite "Frozen" songs.


The Candy Shoppe is Open

 The Candy Shoppe    The Candy Shoppe FB

Firestone Plaza underway

The Coterie is now Open!

The place everyone is talking about above The District at 107 W. Sycamore Street in downtown Kokomo. The finest drink menu in town. Come eat dinner at The District then head upstairs to visit The Coterie..



The Candy Shoppe

The Candy Shoppe opening at the corner of N. Buckeye St & W, Jackson featuring retro and bulk candy along with your current favorites. Opening January 10 at 10:00am

Thanks Kokomo for a Great 2014

Looking toward an Awesome 2015, Thanks for sharing in this with us.

New Years Even Parties 12-31-2014 - NYE Party

Where will you be when the clock strikes twelve? We'll be at The Coterie, Kokomo's newest downtown nightspot. Upstairs at 107 W. Sycamore above The District. Doors open at 5pm, $10 cover, live music from 8-10pm with Josh Mast and the best view in Kokomo of the downtown Kokomo NYE festivities. Use the hashtags ‪#‎thecoterie‬ ‪#‎NYEkokomo‬on Instagram & Twitter to follow the fun.

The District will also be bring in the New Year down stairs under the Coterie. So double your Fun by visiting them too.

An Coterie of kindred spirits

By Pat Munsey | Posted: Saturday, December 27, 2014 8:00 am

A coterie is a small group of people with shared interests or tastes, which describes the audience the owners of Kokomo newest downtown tavern hopes to attract. The Coterie will open just in time for New Year’s Eve, but it won’t be a typical blue jeans and T-shirt establishment.

According to co-owner Dustin Ogle, the business hopes to attract a more professional clientele.

“We’re branding it as a cocktail and martini lounge, but hopefully it will be much more,” said Ogle. “We’re shooting for the professional crowd. We think there is a huge demand for a more upscale experience. We think it will do well in combination with the design and styling of the apartments being constructed just a block away. It’s a non-smoking, unique establishment, focused on quality.

“There will be a dress code. We want people to wear business casual attire at least when they visit The Coterie.”

The Coterie is located above The District at 107 W. Sycamore St., and it will offer food from The District menu. It also will feature craft beer, fine wine, and the aforementioned cocktails and martinis. Ogle said he and his partners -- Zach Miller, Kyle Gibson, and Jeff Broughton -- have formed a strong relationship with The District owner Todd Rudicel.

“Todd has been really cool to work with to make this whole building a destination for the market we want,” said Ogle. “We are going to test what our market demographic wants, but we intend to be open daily. I see this being a 4 p.m. to late night establishment. I think there is room for another fantastic place for people to come downtown in the evening.”

The Coterie doesn’t want to duplicate what already exists in downtown, but with that said, the owners aren’t restricting themselves on ideas.

“We have no limits on what we want to try,” said Ogle. “We’re talking about wine and canvas parties. We have a small stage for presentations and live music. We’re not ruling out anything.”

“I own the building beside it, so if the business explodes, we’ll expand it,” added Broughton.

Ogle hopes to have The Coterie open on New Year’s Eve, and there are plans for a “show-and-tell” party to introduce the public to the business on that evening, in conjunction with the many events taking place in downtown to usher in the new year.

Pub Xpress brings food, beer to your door

By Pat Munsey | Posted: Saturday, December 27, 2014 2:00 pm

New service works with Mulligan’s, Halftime to deliver anywhere.

Pub Xpress wants to bring dinner to your door, along with a little beer, wine, or favorite alcohol. That’s the service provided by the new venture that delivers in Kokomo and the surrounding area.

According to owner Dustin Ogle, the initial response to Pub Xpress has been stronger than anticipated, with word of mouth driving a steady business. He is excited to see how the demand for the service grows.

Pub Xpress currently offers delivery for any item on the menu from Mulligan’s Pub and Halftime Sports Bar and Grill, as well as any packaged alcohol the two taverns offer. And Ogle is considering expanding the business plan to include third-party food establishments. It all depends on the response.

One thing he didn’t expect, however, is that people have trouble believing that the business can do what it promises.

“It has taken off,” said Ogle. “It’s funny because no matter how expressly we put it out there, people still call to confirm that it’s actually true. ‘I can seriously order a pizza and a six-pack of beer? This is not a joke?’ Seriously, it’s no joke. And they’ll call back to say, ‘This really happened! Someone brought me beer for the price of a gallon of gas, and I didn’t have to leave the house.’”

Pub Xpress takes orders and delivers between 11 a.m. and 1 a.m., seven days a week, though alcohol delivery is still restricted on Sundays. Payments can be taken over the phone or at the time of delivery, and Ogle said that the preferred method is payment by credit or debit cards, as it provides a second form of identification.

That identification process is a key component of the business. Each delivery must be accepted by a person of legal age, and Pub Xpress has everything in place to make sure alcohol doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

“It’s pretty stringent, but we make it easy for the customer,” said Ogle. “We take their information when they call, and the person who orders must be the one who accepts the delivery. We do digital age verification on-site. We scan the IDs, and if there are any technical problems, we photograph the ID and the person, if they allow us.

“It’s actually more fool-proof and easier to deal with than in a bar. It’s one-on-one, and there is no commotion. We don’t bring the alcohol from the vehicle until the customer’s age is verified. No one can sneak around it.”

When the delivery arrives, people might be surprised by who arrives at the door. Each driver will be dressed in business formal attire.

“I wanted to differentiate us from the pizza delivery guy,” said Ogle. “They’ll look professional and will have a leather-bound folder for you to review your receipt and fill out your information.”

For those concerned about alcohol flowing freely into homes across Howard County, they can rest assured that there are limits to how much can be delivered.

“The limit is set by the state,” said Ogle. “You can’t order more than 15½ gallons of beer per order. You can’t order more than four quarts of hard alcohol at a time, which comes out to about 3½ fifths. But there is no limit on wine, strangely.”

Kokomo residents naturally are able to take advantage of Pub Xpress’ service, but there really isn’t a limit to where it can go. Ogle hasn’t yet determined how far his drivers will travel to bring food and alcohol to customers, but it is safe to say it will be limited to the local area.

“It’s a new idea and a new business, so we’ll be evolving as we grow,” said Ogle. “I can deliver anywhere in the state, legally. But for our business we have in-town and out-of-town delivery and rates. In-town covers most of the city, though we are testing demand to see how far we should go. We have delivered to Russiaville, for instance.

“There is a delivery fee. Our in-town fee is $3.50, and our out-of-town fee is $5, unless we’re running a free delivery promotion. And there is a minimum order of $10. You can order food, alcohol, or both.”

The idea has been running around Ogle’s head for awhile, and recently there has been evidence that the market for this type of delivery service is emerging. Other entrepreneurs are offering similar services in larger cities, such as Indianapolis and Bloomington, with some success, particularly in alcohol delivery.

“The idea is proving to work,” said Ogle. “People like it. There is a particular demand for delivery late at night on Saturday because some people forget to pick up alcohol for Sunday.”

To place an order with Pub Xpress , call 765-461-0425. Menus are available for review on Pub Xpress Facebook page.

Wish you and your Family a Very Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you from the KipCor family. May your stocking be full and your Christmas be wonderful

Perspective's People of the Year No. 1-4   congradulations to our very own (Jeff Broughton - for making the top 4).


Perspective’s People of the Year No. 1-4

Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2014 8:00 am

#1 - Greg Goodnight

This was a year of growth for Kokomo under the stewardship of Mayor Greg Goodnight, and it will be remembered as the year downtown changed most drastically. Between the construction of a new parking garage, the extension of the Industrial Heritage Trail, and the groundbreaking of a new baseball stadium, the core business district is forever altered.

It also was a year in which Goodnight’s opponents came out in full force, sparking conflict at a level rarely seen.

Early in the year, Goodnight was in an acquisition phase. The city purchased the train depot in downtown and reached an agreement to assume control of Ind. 22 within the city limits. The latter move eliminated the Indiana Department of Transportation’s controversial decision to install soft barriers along Markland Avenue near Ind. 931, preventing motorists from making left turns at one of the busiest intersections in the city.

The spring brought the beginning of the Industrial Heritage Trail’s extension into downtown as well as the opening of Jackson Street Commons, a shelter for homeless veterans. It also marked the beginning of an aggressive development effort from KipCor and Jeff Broughton, which took place with the mayor’s blessing. And construction began on the long-awaited parking garage in winter, and finally opened at the beginning of November, bringing more than 400 parking spaces and the future addition of 33 rooftop apartments to downtown.

But the biggest announcement of the spring involved the creation of a new baseball stadium. Using a low-lying area south of the Wildcat Creek that the city purchased from flood-stricken owners in 2013, Goodnight announced the imminent arrival of professional baseball to the community, while pledging to address drainage issues along the creek in the process.

In the fall, MKE Sports Entertainment announced that it would bring a Prospect League team to Kokomo. The Kokomo Jackrabbits will take the field in the spring of 2015.

The positive progress of seven months was threatened with a growing conflict between Goodnight and Howard County officials over the trail. Negotiations fell apart on how wide the county’s access across the trail would be. The city wanted a minimal interruption, while public safety officials insisted that 22 feet was the width needed to access the west side of the courthouse.

The conflict came to head when construction halted on the project, leaving the access point uncompleted. The county sought to create a temporary access, but was met with concrete drainage pipes blockading the entrance. With no warning, Howard Superior Court I Judge William Menges ordered Goodnight arrested and brought to his court to face a charge of direct contempt.

Goodnight narrowly escaped time in a jail jumpsuit, but the incident made statewide news, placing a black eye on an otherwise progressive year. The trail issue was resolved a few weeks later, with the county’s desired access included. The trail was completed shortly thereafter, but a lawsuit from Goodnight against Menges still stands unresolved.

Despite this hiccup, the city continued to prosper under Goodnight’s leadership. Kokomo’s fire protection rating improved, promising better insurance rates for residents. The city was named the third-fastest place for job growth in the nation, and the most affordable place to live. And late in the year, ground was broken on the $16 million YMCA project. Goodnight was an integral part of its development, donating $4 million to the project and authorizing the issuance of bonds, using the city as a pass-through.

#2 - Ron Metz

This was a long, but rewarding, year for Ron Metz. As the chairman of the Kokomo Family YMCA’s capital funding campaign, he has asked and begged, wined and dined, and otherwise drummed up $10 million for the construction of a new facility in downtown Kokomo.

And last month, the project finally broke ground.

The new YMCA project has been in the discussion phase since the 1960s, and many people believed that it might never happen, at least in downtown. At one point, even YMCA executive director Dave Dubois consigned himself to the possibility of moving the facility to the south side of the city.

Last year, the winds changed. The project gained support in the community, and the fundraising campaign began its silent phase. Metz was tabbed to head up the effort, and he found a number of prominent and successful citizens to provide millions in pledges. He followed that up with donations from the city of Kokomo and Howard County government.

In the spring, the YMCA launched its “audacious” public campaign, asking people to volunteer their time and effort to convey the message that Kokomo needed the new facility. And Metz was right there, grinning broadly, as a three-dimensional walkthrough of the facility was shown to the community for the first time.

He sported that grin again in November when the YMCA held its groundbreaking ceremony, tossing the first shovels of dirt for what will be an 18-month construction job. And he did it while deflecting any credit that came his way. It is the community, after all, that is making the project a reality. He is just holding the door open for everyone.

Metz’s modesty and appreciation prevents people from seeing just how vital his work on the project is. He has taken on the equivalent of a part-time job, serving as an ambassador for the YMCA. His considerable work behind the scenes is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. But that work is far from finished.

As Metz said at the groundbreaking, there are no cheers and celebrations for hitting 63 percent of the goal. The new Kokomo Family YMCA is a $16 million project. There is much work ahead. The fund-raising campaign will switch gears in 2015, and Metz is expected to bring home the remaining $6 million. He already has some major donors in the works, and there is an individual-level effort still to come.

But when YMCA members step through those doors for the first time sometime in 2016, they will do so in large part because Ron Metz wanted it to happen.

#3 - Jeff Broughton

Developer and KipCor president Jeff Broughton has impacted downtown Kokomo in ways that few people could have envisioned. In one year, he has become a major catalyst for economic development at the level that matters most -- spurring the creation of a handful of small businesses and generating promise for much more.

The real estate specialist first came to town to resolve a demolition order on one of his residential properties, but once here he saw opportunity. He began buying up downtown parcels with plans to revive commerce, and his arrival was welcomed by the administration of Mayor Greg Goodnight.

However, 2014 started out slowly for Broughton. Plans for a Trader Joe’s market and a fried chicken restaurant faded as quickly as they were proposed, and a few local leaders began questioning the validity of the developer’s intentions. But Broughton weathered the criticism and occasional run of bad press and pushed ahead.

By spring, the Firestone Building, an eyesore destined to slowly decay and age, had a fresh coat of paint, new construction, and new signage. Tenants soon followed. An autism treatment center took residence, and Systems in Motion made an announcement with Gov. Mike Pence that it would bring hundreds of new jobs to downtown in 2015.

Broughton made a splash on the courthouse square as well, purchasing the former Elks Lodge and working with Todd Rudicel to open The District, a new restaurant and tavern. He followed that with purchases of buildings and upper floor space along Sycamore Street for office space and along Main Street, where he now owns the Republican Party headquarters and plans to create residential space above it. Eventually, his presence will be felt along Walnut Street as well, as he is the owner of the former Barko building, which partially collapsed in late spring and sorely needs repair.

He’s also dabbled in apartments on the near east side and has purchased several residential properties on the city’s north side, salvaging dilapidated properties and turning them into taxpaying assets to the community.

Broughton also showed an interest in owning a piece of the city’s nightlife. This fall he purchased Mulligan’s Pub and The Social, two of the city’s most frequented nightclubs.

He even lured a California-based car novelty product distributor to take up residence along West Jefferson Street. But the developer’s crown jewel can be found in the 500 Block of North Buckeye Street. It is there that Broughton’s vision for Kokomo is taking shape in undeniable ways.

Originally christened “Panhandler’s Alley,” the block features eight business properties under his control and in various stages of development. He already has ushered in a pair of businesses -- Gabetta’s and The Gingerbread House -- and expects two more -- The Candy Shoppe and Oscar’s Pizza (with local developer Scott Pitcher) -- to open before the year ends. Extended-stay hotel rooms and condominiums are being developed on the upper floors of several of the buildings.

The remaining four business locations are in various stages of development, and at least two have entrepreneurs lined up to open the doors. The plan is to have a Mexican restaurant and a Country and Western-themed bar move into the block within the next few months. Later on, Broughton intends to open a barbecue restaurant at the corner of Jefferson and Washington streets. The only building currently lacking a tenant is the former Tudor building. Initially, the owner of the Peru-based Boondocks restaurant and tavern intended to open there, but those plans are on hold.

#4 - Paul Wyman

Paul Wyman gives more of himself to the community, year after year, than nearly anyone. From his organization of the annual Haynes-Apperson Festival to his sponsorship of local charities to his work within his church, he does enough to make the Perspective People of the Year list without generating headlines.

But his actions as Howard County Commissioner in an election year cemented his spot.

The year started with a stumble for Wyman, who made headlines after claiming that the county was sporting a budget surplus of $11 million. Unfortunately, he mistook a cash balance for a surplus. In reality, the county held less than $4 million in unappropriated reserves at the time of his announcement, and that number has fallen since then.

Rather than acknowledge the error, Wyman continued to tout a strong cash balance for the county and made it a tent pole in his re-election campaign for county commissioner.

Wyman’s major accomplishment as a commissioner this year was to negotiate the termination of the Wildcat Wind Farm in eastern Howard County. After more than a year of protests from local residents, the commissioner hopped a plane to Texas and convinced e.On that their windmills weren’t wanted. It helped that federal subsidies for wind farms had been slashed earlier in the year, of course.

In a 20-minute address to the remonstrators, Wyman detailed his efforts to address their desire, and he and the commissioners took a further step to call upon the Howard County Plan Commission to adopt new language for the wind ordinance to eliminate the possibility of another wind farm without serious restrictions. That action was supposed to take place within 60 days, but as of today, Wyman and his cohorts have not pressed the commission to move forward -- a detail that likely has as much to do with the election as anything else.

The election season saw Wyman and his supporters out in full force, with signs and t-shirts seemingly everywhere. From July to November it was nearly impossible to not know that he was running for office. Spending more than $12,000 on the campaign will do that.

But the most notable incident for Wyman came in late October when he decided to take a tour of the general election ballot room by way of the absentee polling area. Led by Howard County clerk Kim Wilson, he inspected the room and the security in place for the ballots.

Get out the vote

Happy Holidays - Dec, 6th 7:00 to 10:00 PM

 Join us Saturday December 6th from 7-9pm at 505 N. Buckeye Street for our holiday celebration.


Perspective announces People of the Year finalists


Perspective announces People of the Year finalists

Pat Munsey | Posted: Thursday, December 4, 2014 6:00 am

Each December, the editorial staff of the Kokomo Perspective selects its People of the Year -- a recognition of the men and women of this community who made their mark, for better or worse, on Kokomo and Howard County.

Those included on the list may do so because of the headlines they generate, or for the impact they have away from the spotlight. But each of them deserve to be recognized.

Also, in this edition we have included a pair of people who just missed the cut for the top 10, but given an honorable mention. See Page A2 for these notable individuals.

Following are the 10 finalists for the 16th annual People of the Year, listed in alphabetical order. Next week, we’ll profile those ranked 5-10, and our top four will be revealed on Dec. 17. We’ll also announce our Lifetime Achievement selection in that edition.

Jeff Broughton

Developer and KipCor president Jeff Broughton has impacted downtown Kokomo in ways that few people could have envisioned. In one year, he has become a major catalyst for economic development at the level that matters most -- spurring the creation of a handful of small businesses and generating promise for much more.

Jill Dunn

Jill Dunn impacts the community in positive ways every year through her administration of Bona Vista Programs. However, she makes the Perspective’s People of the Year list a second year in a row for her founding and fostering of the Howard County Mental Health Summit.

Greg Goodnight

This was a year of growth for Kokomo under the stewardship of Mayor Greg Goodnight, and it will be remembered as the year downtown changed most drastically. Between the construction of a new parking garage, the extension of the Industrial Heritage Trail, and the groundbreaking of a new baseball stadium, the core business district is forever altered.

Mike Karickhoff

Mike Karickhoff made headlines early in the year with his vote to eliminate the business personal property tax in Indiana, but he found success on Election Day despite the controversy.

William Menges

Howard Superior Court I Judge William Menges usually is recognized for his administration of the Howard County Drug Court and Howard County Re-Entry Court, as well as his aggressive problem-solving approach to cases of domestic violence. But this year, he fully stepped into the light of controversy by citing Mayor Greg Goodnight for contempt of court.

Ron Metz

This was a long, but rewarding, year for Ron Metz. As the chairman of the Kokomo Family YMCA’s capital funding campaign, he has asked and begged, wined and dined, and otherwise drummed up $10 million for the construction of a new facility in downtown Kokomo. And last month, the project finally broke ground.

John O’Donnell

John O’Donnell could be called the patron saint of The Gilead House, and the title would fit well. The retired president of First National Bank has aided the charitable organization for years, literally keeping its doors open. And in 2014, he bought the Gilead House a new home.

Joe Thatcher

Even though his summers are spent on the baseball field, Joe Thatcher hasn’t forgotten his hometown of Kokomo. Each year, he and his wife, Katie, give back to the community. His endowment raises money for local charities, and this year he devoted special attention to the fund-raising effort to construct a new Kokomo Family YMCA.

Kim Wilson

The office of Howard County Clerk doesn’t typically gain a lot of attention, but this year Clerk Kim Wilson was anything but typical. Her handling of the 2014 election cycle was fraught with missteps and controversies, inviting the ire of the Howard County Democratic Party.

Paul Wyman

Paul Wyman gives more of himself to the community, year after year, than nearly anyone. From his organization of the annual Haynes-Apperson Festival to his sponsorship of local charities to his work within his church, he does enough to make the Perspective People of the Year list without generating headlines. But his actions as Howard County Commissioner in an election year cemented his spot.

The candy Shoppe nearrly ready


The Candy Shoppe nearly ready

Kokomoperspective-  By Pat Munsey | Posted: Friday, November 28, 2014 6:00 am

When Jeff Broughton was a child, he liked Pixy Sticks, Astro Pops, and Zero bars. In fact, he was a big fan of candy, just like every other kid growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. But many of the treats he remembers from his childhood can’t be found on store shelves today.

This will change in Kokomo within the next few weeks as KipCor opens its latest development on the 500 Block of North Buckeye Street -- The Candy Shoppe. As Broughton explained, the store will feature candies that young people never have experienced, but old-timers will recall with affection.

“It’s going to be retro,” said Broughton. “Bat suckers, Zero bars, things you haven’t thought about since you were a kid. We’ll have salt-water taffy in just about any flavor you can imagine. We’ll have just about anything except for chocolates. I don’t want to compete against what The Gingerbread House is offering.”

The building, located on the northwest corner of Buckeye and Taylor, has been the home for several ideas since KipCor began rehabilitating it last spring. Broughton explored the possibility of putting in a chocolatier, a wine bar, and a bicycle shop before settling on The Candy Shoppe.

The idea fits Broughton’s vision for the retail area, and for now it will be his.

“I don’t want to be in the candy store business, but I want a candy store here,” said Broughton. “I’ll find someone who wants to run it. That’s my goal. A store like this will bring people to the community, to downtown. We’ll have people come here for lunch at one of the restaurants and then come take a look at The Candy Shoppe. And they’ll buy something.

“People will come down here to visit on the weekends, and they’ll buy something. It will service the lease. No one is going to get rich owning a candy store.”

The store features a checkerboard floor, and the walls are lined with shelving ready to accept an enormous variety of treats. The candy has been selected, and Broughton is ready to bring it to Kokomo. But the final touches have not yet been put into place.

“The candy is the easy part,” said Broughton. “We still need to hang the lights and get our Point of Sale system. And I still need a person who wants to work it.”

For those who are looking forward to reliving their childhood with a favorite candy, Broughton explained that their first chance might come as early as Dec. 5.




Gingerbread House happy in downtown

Kokomoperspective - By Pat Munsey | Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 2:00 pm

The Gingerbread House has a new place to call home, and owners Matt and Lauren Gaines couldn’t be happier. Their move to the new development area on North Buckeye Street has caused a jump in business that the couple didn’t anticipate.

Of course, a good portion of their new popularity is due to the delicious doughnuts, cakes, candies, and snacks, but the Gaines also credited developer KipCor for the vision that is drawing crowds to their corner of downtown Kokomo.

“I think a lot of the downtown crowd is coming over,” said Lauren. “We’ve seen a lot of new faces. First Friday has been unbelievable for us. We were very busy. And the Farmers’ Market had people wrapped around the room in line all day. I made coffee for an hour.

“It was unbelievable how much we sold. We’ve done events for (KipCor), but we didn’t know what to expect. Are people going to going to come in? But it was unreal how many people come in.”

“You don’t understand it until you move down here,” added Matt. “It’s like a family. All of the local businesses support you, and you support them. It’s neat.”

The Gaines moved into their new home on Oct. 10, and the reception has been overwhelming. But they weren’t convinced initially that relocating to downtown would be beneficial. That all changed after a visit with KipCor president Jeff Broughton.

“At first we were unsure, but once we came down here and walked around, we thought it was a good idea,” said Matt. “Jeff Broughton gave us a tour and showed us what was happening. Once we had the visual, it felt like home.”

One of the big selling points was the ability to design and decorate the store to their specifications and preferences. Again, the Gaines were pleased with KipCor’s response.

“The design was ours,” said Matt. “That was one of the things we asked first. Would we be able to do things the way we wanted? How much freedom would we have? Jeff told us we could do whatever we wanted.”

“It was already prepared for us to move in, but they did a lot more for us. They redid the basement so we could have our bakery kitchen in there. We changed the wall color and decoration. The design was all our ideas they made possible.”

Moving was a big adjustment. Lauren explained that the dining area at their new location is larger than the entire building they once called home. But the extra space has allowed them to greatly expand their product offerings.

“We’ve added a larger variety of cookies and candies, different dessert bars, cupcakes,” said Lauren. “Now, we’re working on adding artisan breads. We’ve been able to add popcorn, noodles for the holidays. We’re still doing custom cakes in our dedicated cake decorating room, which is really nice. We’ve added vanilla soft-serve ice cream. And we just opened up a gluten-free kitchen.”

Lauren explained that her gluten-free offering have been very well received, with product flying off the shelves faster than anticipated.

“We were surprised; we didn’t know how it would taste,” added Matt. “It is as good, if not better, than our regular products. It is excellent. We’re working our way toward every item we want to provide. It’s just hard to do it all at once. We need to find good help since we expanded. We want to keep our quality and then expand.”

Ckick to read at the

Kipcor remodels Buckeye St. - Oscar's Pizza

 Remodeling work being done at 515 N. Buckeye Street in Kokomo on the new Oscar's Pizza that will be opening in the future. This will be a great addition to the line-up of options on Buckeye Street downtown. We will keep details flowing as they become more clear about these businesses.

Click to see full story at the Kokomoperspective

Sweet, Sweet , - Coming to North Buckeye Street in downtown Kokomo. We'll get details up soon.


LA Auto Gear locates in Kokomo

By Pat Munsey | Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:00 am

Motorists surely haven’t missed the bright blue paint job given to the former Crescent Dairy building on West Jefferson Street. Now they will know why the color scheme was changed.

According to a release from the city of Kokomo, LA Auto Gear Inc. has announced plans for expansion in Kokomo. The business will locate its Midwest distribution facility in the formerly vacant, 10,000 square-foot, building at 317 W. Jefferson St. near downtown center.

LA Auto Gear Inc. is a Los Angeles, Calif., based company that provides one of the largest selections of licensed team logo and character accessories, seat covers, car mats, and other novelty items.

“The Kokomo site is a perfect location that addresses our regional accessibility concerns and need to improve and optimize service to our customer base,” said CEO Craig Smith. “We are rehabbing the building’s interior in preparation to open soon.”

LA Auto Gear already has moved stock into the building and has begun operations, employing one full-time worker. Long-range plans are to hire as many as three additional full-time workers within the next three years.

The owners of LA Auto Gear are not seeking tax abatements or other assistance from the city of Kokomo.

“We are pleased that LA Auto Gear chose to locate in Kokomo,” said Mayor Greg Goodnight. “This announcement will result in the reuse of a long vacant facility in the heart of our city.” 

Click here to read the full Article  

The Gingerbread House is Now Open

The Gingerbread House Bakery is now open at 505 N. Buckeye Street in downtown Kokomo. 
Stop in and try some delicious treats and see their new location.

Coming Soon to Buckey St.

Gingerbread House Bakery coming downtown to Buckeye St soon...

Gabettas Now Open on Buckeye St


Gabettas offers down home cooking on Buckeye Street

Martin Slagter Kokomo Tribune | Posted: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 6:00 am

After 24 years on the road as a truck driver, Chris Thatcher could no longer fight the urge to give the business he had always dreamed of a shot.

The result of that inspiration, Gabettas, opened up at 503 N. Buckeye St. last week, paving the way for a flurry of new eating options that will occupy a revitalized block of Kokomo’s downtown in the coming months.

From the restaurant’s name, a compilation of the spelling of Thatcher and his wife Annie’s three children, to the menu inspired by his grandmother and mother’s southern style cooking, the diner is clearly rooted in family.

“Growing up as a kid, I was always there,” Thatcher said of his grandmother’s Arkansas roots. “I just grew up with that kind of lifestyle, and you just don’t get that anywhere now. Everything has become so commercial, there’s really not that diner atmosphere, which is what I wanted to create.”

Open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the menu offers breakfast and lunch options in addition to baked goods such as pies and cookies.

Signature items include Grandma Neal’s chocolate gravy and biscuits, which has caught the attention of countless patrons already, and home-style “Junk Plate,” consisting of hash browns topped with two eggs, a choice of breakfast meat and Colby jack cheese melted on top.

“A lot of people are very new to it, especially the chocolate biscuits and gravy,” Annie Thatcher said. “They’re like, ‘What is that?’ But everyone has loved it. We had them sample it at the last First Friday and we’re going to do that again in October.”

Five different types of omelets, steak, pork chops and chicken and eggs and fried bologna and eggs are among the other breakfast items the diner serves, along with various burgers, sandwiches and paninis available after 11 a.m.

Thatcher said he expects the restaurant’s hours and menu to expand, possibly adding dinner items as more businesses make their way into the block along Buckeye Street, just off  the newly constructed section of the Industrial Heritage Trail.

In the meantime, the early hours have allowed Thatcher to spend more time with his three children, Gavin, Bennett and Tatum, after a long career on the road.

“We just decided to jump in and do it,” Annie said. “We were very lucky to meet Jeff Broughton, who is the developer for this area. He gave us a deal we just couldn’t pass up to try it out. He’s helped us every step along the way to make this happen.

“[Chris] always had a passion for cooking and baking,” she added. “He’s on the road a lot and after 24 years, this is so different and a different pace for him. He’s happier and is able to be at home at night with the children.”

With more businesses expected to open, Thatcher said he is excited to be leading the way for what he hopes will be a bustling block of eateries and commerce.

“Being one of the first ones and just being a part of this is going to be exciting,” he said. “The more that’s going on the more excited I get. We’ll probably eventually end of adding hours and probably dinner once things get going here.”

Joining Gabettas will be the Gingerbread House Bakery, which will be moving within the next few weeks from its present location at 1215 W. Jefferson St.

Gingerbread House Bakery co-owner Matt Gaines and his wife, Lauren, are excited to be a part of the Buckeye Street revival.

The bakery, which features cookies, pies, cakes, cupcakes, candies and other assorted baked goods, will expand its menu to include different breads, as well as soft serve ice cream.

Gaines said he also expects the bakery’s showroom area to include seating for around 20 people. The couple is shooting for an opening around the next First Friday on Oct. 3.

“It’s been slow but steady,” he said. “We’re making sure everything is done right. The last couple of weeks, we’ve come a long way. They’re doing drywall downstairs and I’ve got some cabinets that are being put in right now. Most of the kitchen is downstairs and in the back and the showroom on the ground level.

“My wife and I are very excited about that,” he added. “We’re excited about the location and the foot traffic and the emphasis on people parking and walking around – not just coming here, but checking the area out.”

Boondocks Food and Spirits, a restaurant that opened in Peru a year and a half ago, also recently announced plans to open a second eatery at 513 N. Buckeye St. in the former Tudor Building.

Boondocks co-owner Steve Foht said in July there are plans to begin renovating the building in October. When it opens, the restaurant will serve up steak, fresh seafood, specialty burgers and other cuisine born on the bayous of New Orleans.


New Mexican restaurant Coming Soon to N buckeye & Jefferson

Have you seen the mural that is being painted for the new Mexican restaurant that is coming downtown at the corner of N. Buckeye & Jefferson.

S.Tudor & Co. coming to Life again 

The Tudor Building on Buckeye Street.

Blood Drive

Thanks for coming out yesterday to the Blood Drive on Buckeye Street.

Panhandle Alley

Panhandle Alley is coming alive as Gabbettas gears up for their opening on Buckeye Street.

Lot's of Progress on Buckeye St. 

KipCor aids historical society

By Pat Munsey -| Posted: Friday, August 8, 2014 2:00 pm

Recently, the Alexandria-Monroe Twp. Historical Society found itself in need of some serious assistance. The ceiling of its museum partially collapsed, threatening the many artifacts and exhibits on display. Hearing of the work KipCor and developer Jeff Broughton is doing in Kokomo, the society contacted him, seeking help.

“Retaining the historical integrity of the 1930s-era building that houses these precious collections remains a vital part of our historical society’s identity,” society representative Joy Blake Grose stated. “Being funded only by memberships and donations, our financial resources are quite limited.

“Because the exterior walls are stucco, locating a contractor who is willing and qualified for such projects remains an ongoing challenge. We contacted [Broughton] hoping for advice about stucco maintenance on the exterior of our museum building. Mr. Broughton agreed to visit our museum and lend some advice.”

What Broughton discovered upon his visit was more severe than anticipated. A large section of the ceiling collapse just hours before his arrival. He acted immediately to make the repairs to the ceiling and then sent construction crews to the museum to repair the damage to the stucco exterior. The entire project was completed in three days.

“Jeff Broughton’s kind and generous benevolence reinforces the concept of goodness in today’s society,” said Grose. “Yes, this man donated his expertise, labor, and materials for our needs, humbly refusing any payment whatsoever.

“We find few words that adequately express our gratitude for (Broughton’s) generous outreach to us. Without a doubt, his expertise and quick response captured and erased our dilemma -- right before our eyes.”

Click for News Link

Slide Show of On-Going Progress Down Town

From 13  Indiana's New Leader -  400 new jobs coming to Kokomo , Carmel.

13 WTHR Indianapolis

High tech in high gear in Kokomo - reported by June 30th 2014

 Photo by Kokomoperspective

New jobs are coming to downtown Kokomo. Systems in Motion (SIM), an information technology company based in California, announced on June 30 that it would bring 240 jobs to the city by 2017, along with an additional 160 jobs in Carmel, Ind.  

Click to read the full story from the


Systems in Motion bringing 240 new jobs to Kokomo - Firestone Plaza reported by - June 30th 2014



FIRST LOOK: A new student housing complex


FIRST LOOK: A new student housing complex planned for Union Street, across from City Hall, is expected to provide residences for 150 local college students. Provided photo

Click here to read full news artical at the Kokomo Tribune

Panhandler's Alley showing signs of life

By Pat Munsey - Kokomo Perspective.

It has taken more time than he wanted, but Jeff Broughton’s developments along Buckeye Street downtown are attracting tenants. To date, four businesses have committed to moving into the area, which has been named Panhandler’s Alley.But Broughton is looking for more entrepreneurs who are looking for an opportunity.The California developer owns most of the buildings in the 500 Block of North Buckeye Street, and he has taken a “built it, and they will come” approach to the project.“My goal is to finish all of the exteriors of all of the building and take the interiors to white walls,” said Broughton. “Then, we’ll look for the businesses. That’s worked for us so far. We have four good tenants. I feel good about it.” The first two businesses expected to open their doors within the next month are Gabetta’s, a catering business, and Gingerbread House, a bakery currently located along West Jefferson Street. They will take up residence on the south end of the block.

The Tudor Building, which sits at the middle of the block is still undergoing extensive renovations, including a roof replacement. There are no businesses attached to the building yet, but Broughton envisions outfitting the ground floor with a Steampunk theme, complete with oversized gears and a zeppelin that circles the room.And just to the north are a pair of businesses that have the developer excited. There are plans in place to put an Italian restaurant in one of the storefronts. According to Broughton, the owners held a tasting event for the investors, and all were pleased.“She showed off her different menu items; it was very good,” said Broughton. “It’s true Italian food, not pizzas.”

Next to the Italian restaurant will be a Country and Western bar -- a deal that Broughton said has been inked.That leaves the property on the north end of the block, which is being constructed with a Mexican restaurant in mind.“The thing I don’t have is someone for the Mexican restaurant,” said Broughton. “I’m building it. It will have a patio and an adobe pony wall around it. It will have 4,000 square feet of space inside. We’ll finish the outside with a big fountain in the middle, and the floor will have Mexican pavers. We’re just looking for someone who wants to come in here and lay it out the way they see fit and run a restaurant.

”On the west side of the block, Broughton still has plans to build a barbecue restaurant, and even though he doesn’t have a signed lease in hand, he does have a restauranteur interested in the space. He said that will be his next project. Outside of Panhandler’s Alley, Broughton’s other developments are moving along. The District on the south side of the courthouse square in expected to open this week. And an autism therapy center has agreed to move into the Firestone Building at the corner of Union and Mulberry streets.“We’ve had a ton of activity over there,” said Broughton. “I have a verbal commitment for the second floor of the building. I’m moving forward as if that will happen until it doesn’t.”


There is still the planned student housing facility at Union and Superior streets ahead, which Broughton believes will begin construction in July. And he recently closed on the second floor of the building at 113 E. Sycamore St., which he intends to convert into 10 office suites.It is a whirlwind of activity, but it’s not fast enough for Broughton.“I’m an over-the-top optimist,” said Broughton. “So, I kind of thought it would all come along a littler quicker. But the winter was pretty tough.” 

Click here to read full artical .  Kokomo Perspective

It was a busy weekend

It was a busy weekend for us and the great people we've teamed up to support!

During First Friday the Indiana Behavior Analysis Academy had face painting & sponge painting outside of their new home at Firestone Plaza, that same Friday was National Donut Day & Gingerbread House Bakery got a shout out from the White House via Twitter of a pic from when the President came to visit & The District had live music during their first open weekend at 107 W. Sycamore! Whew!




Bring your family and friends for this arts-based open house tour of beautiful downtown Kokomo! Live Music on the square featuring the Sound of Music All Star Band, Musicians from the Rock Star Academy and special guest, Ron Mancuso (formerly with “Wild Cherry” & co-writer of “Play that Funky Music”)-all celebrating Sound of Music’s 30 year anniversary.  Grab a bite to eat at one of our restaurants featuring “Berry Sweet” refreshments.  Enjoy art as you stroll, or participate in it: Chalk the Block, art in the alley with the Art Association and Art at the library at KHCPL.  Kids’ specials include free pony rides, temporary tattoos, facepainting, crafts & activities, Karate Demonstrations and balloons. Other special features include Lonnie Lester in concert, Terra Trike test-drives, Belly-dance performances, and a sampling of  Farmers Market favorites with fresh local food and handmade products. See you there!  Click here for More Infomation and the First Friday Kokomo Web Site.  

Gingerbread House Bakery will be moving to Buckeye St!

We hope you read the article in the June 2nd Kokomo Tribune about our progress, but in casw you missed it... you missed some BIG news! We are very excited to announce that Gingerbread House Bakery will be moving to Buckeye St.! ?#?GetExcited? ?#?Kokomo?


Firestone building in downtown gets throwback sign

 By Martin Slagter Kokomo TribuneClick to read full article  

Gabettas is getting prepped to open

When the sign is getting painted you know it won't be long before the grand opening! 


PLAY BALL! New Kokomo Stadium Coming April 2015

Read about What's Coming to kokomo April 2015

Story and Editorial by the Kokomoperspective

First tenant of the Fire Stone building 

We are VERY excited to announce the first tenant of the Firestone Building! Please help us welcome the Indiana Behavior Analysis Academy! To learn more about them, visit their FB page & give this status the big thumbs up!


Blast from the past - The Blues Brothers in Kokomo

 KipCor In the News , The outside investor: Jeff Broughton is the Kokomo's go-to-guy

Written By Scott Smith, Kokomo Tribune staff writter- Published by the Indiana Economic Degest 

 Click here to read full article on-line at the Indiana Economic Digest

HERE TO STAY? Jeff Broughton, a California developer who came to Kokomo to save some investor properties, has stayed on to fund a string of downtown commercial renovations. Staff photo by Kelly Lafferty

Kokomo — Across from the old train depot, the Tudor building — a red brick, three-story warehouse dating back to the turn of the 20th century — is waiting its turn.

The roof will have to be replaced, and the interior, ruined by decades of neglect and water from the leaking roof, needs a ton of work.

No one in Kokomo was willing to take on the project, despite the city of Kokomo planning a trails project to run down North Buckeye Street, and a Washington Street apartment project rising a stone’s throw away.

Enter Jeff Broughton, the California developer who came to Kokomo to save some investor properties, and who has stayed to fund a string of downtown commercial renovations.

The California-based investor is now in the process of renovating most of the west side of the 500 block of North Buckeye Street near downtown Kokomo into what he hopes will sell as a mixed-use retail/residential development.

Inside, old plaster is coming down, new fixtures are going in and sagging roofs are being rehabbed. Some of the buildings, which were part of the old Currens-Zapfe printing business, haven’t had tenants for years, if not decades.

It’s exactly the sort of development the city of Kokomo, and its mayor, Greg Goodnight, are hoping to encourage downtown, and the outside money — Broughton doesn’t name his investors, except to say they aren’t local — is doing what local developers haven’t been willing to do.

So why does Broughton feel he’s not welcome in the City of Firsts?

“If I put $1 million into these buildings, and then lose them, who cares?” he said in an interview Thursday. “All I do is make neighborhoods better, yet there’s a lot of people who want to see me fail.”

There’s no doubt Goodnight, who has made downtown revival and beautification the main focus of his administration, has put hope in Broughton.

The city’s Community Development Corporation deeded the old Firestone Building, 219 N. Union St., to Broughton-led investor group, Home Banc Center Inc. There are ongoing talks about Broughton possibly building housing developments at Union and Superior streets, and at Apperson Way and Mulberry Street.

The city’s director of operations, Randy McKay, said the city tried, unsuccessfully, for years to find someone to take on the work Broughton is now involved with.

“Except for Jeff and [Kokomo developer] Scott Pitcher, we’ve had no outside or inside interest in taking on these old buildings to renovate them,” McKay said. “These guys are taking a hell of a risk.”

Case in point is the Firestone Building, which is close to 90 years old and has a roof which leaks and a basement full of water. It sat on the market for close to a decade before the owner, STAR Financial Bank, donated it to the city’s redevelopment commission.

“We went in and just started taking crap out of it, seven Dumpsters full of trash so far,” Broughton said.

His idea is keeping the upstairs windows — he said he just received a delivery of glass — and creating an interior arcade, businesses surrounded by a sunlit hallway.

On Buckeye Street, he has specific tenants he wants to see brought in, creating an arts/entertainment district he’s calling Panhandle Alley.

“When I came into this market, I looked at it like this: People would say, ‘Hey, let’s go get something to eat.’ They don’t say, ‘Let’s go eat downtown,’ because there’s only one or two choices. The only way you’re going to make it a destination for restaurants is to have a variety,” Broughton said.

Discovering Kokomo

Broughton originally came to Kokomo to save some properties he’d purchased in bulk, some of which had been slated for demolition as part of Goodnight’s increased emphasis on code enforcement.

Goodnight, McKay and other city officials started talking with Broughton, who showed interest in purchasing some tax sale properties, and convinced him to look at some of the commercial development opportunities downtown.

When Broughton’s aspirations of purchasing hundreds of tax sale properties, which would then be bundled and sold in tranches to other investors, ran into resistance from county officials, he started to focus on the old downtown buildings.

The attraction, he says, is the low price of getting into the buildings, either through the city, on contract from an owner, or through an outright purchase.

Developers like to talk about capitalization rates, defined as the yearly income a property can produce, divided by the total cost of the project.

In California, Broughton said, his cap rates are usually around the 6 percent to 8 percent range, meaning it would take 12 to 15 years for the income on a property to pay off the investment cost.

In Kokomo, he’s envisioning cap rates of 20 to 25 percent. His hope is every building he finishes gets leased, and that he can leverage the lease income to obtain long-term financing on other projects.

Making progress

For now, however, Broughton said he’s doing projects on a cash basis. The two projects furthest along include plans for a bakery (some of the kitchen equipment already has been delivered) at 503 N. Buckeye St., and for a pizza place to be called The District, that will be located in the former Elks building, 107 E. Sycamore St.

Above the bakery, Broughton’s crew of 18 is building four apartment units, which Broughton envisions as extended stay, corporate rentals.

“You make the reservation, and we give you a door code, and there’s maid service. It’ll be a 4-star place, but it wouldn’t be open to the public. It would be for corporate customers,” he said.

He’s a bit apologetic about ever mentioning his hopes of luring a Trader Joe’s grocery to the Firestone Building, but said he’s still working on it. That’s part of being a developer creating “spec” commercial space. You build it, and you sell it. Broughton has specific lessees in mind for each of his projects.

There’s no doubt Broughton has his detractors, who privately voice concerns he won’t succeed.

His decision to purchase two rental properties from Goodnight drew notice, as has his involvement in a Federal Trade Commission action against a mortgage relief services firm in 2010. The FTC banned him from the business and imposed a suspended monetary judgment against Broughton and his co-defendants.

“If you get into all of that, you’d have to start at the very beginning,” he said. “No one knows the whole story, and no one’s even asked me about it until now. [2010] was a painful year, but all of the connections I’ve made were from when I was growing a 1,000-employee business back then.”

City officials, and Broughton, are adamant all of that is irrelevant, compared to the money Broughton is bringing to the table to improve downtown properties.

“I’m just buying properties. I’m not doing anything illegal,” Broughton said. “I’m just trying to redevelop a portion of the city.

“I came here because of Randy and Greg. They shared their vision, and I agree with it. But the only way it’s going to work is if someone comes in and develops it.”


© 2014 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.


Fire Stone Plaza

Have you been downtown lately to see the rendering of what's to come at the former Hank's Tire Service building? Did you even know that was the official name of the former "Firestone" building? The more you know, the more exciting it gets!




KipCor Inc.

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