Hartford City Is Inspiring Entrepreneurs of All Stripes
Blackford County provides the tools necessary to thrive in any business venture.
Sponsored by: Blackford County Economic Development Corporation
When it comes to starting or growing a business in Blackford County, Indiana, the only limits are your dreams.
That’s the message that Warren Brown, executive director of the Blackford County Economic Development Corporation, is conveying to locals and potential newcomers to East Central Indiana.
“As an entrepreneur, you can get in on the ground floor if you’re interested in being part of a community where people support each other,” Brown says. “And that’s why so many people have chosen Hartford City.”
In Brown’s mind, the choice is clear: Blackford County provides the tools necessary to thrive in any business venture, including transportation, manufacturing, distribution and food processing, to name just a few.
And the EDC’s efforts seem to be working. Several new businesses have opened in formerly vacant properties over the last few years, and the county has invested in sidewalk projects and other infrastructure developments.
Among the new enterprises is Who’s Your Coffee, opened by siblings Mindy Harvey and Travis Stroud, who both grew up in Blackford County.
“Having a small business in a small town is one of the most fulfilling things we have ever done,” Harvey says of their Hartford City shop. “Everyone in this community has been so very kind and supportive toward us and this business.”
Another new business is Thrifty Sounds, a record/thrift store combination also located in Hartford City. Shawn Robare and Tim Lee opened the business in late 2020, after taking a leap of faith.
“My husband and I were born and raised in Indianapolis and moved to Blackford County in 2014 to get out of the city,” Robare explains.
Lee had worked concerts for years and was a lifelong collector and was looking for his next adventure.
The concept behind the business seemed natural and things seemed to fall in place with time. For instance, when they scouted possible locations, they came across their current building and knew it was “the one.”
“We thought to ourselves, ‘this is a town trying to rebuild, and we might be getting in at the perfect time!’” Robare concludes. “Everyone here has welcomed us with open arms.”