BY MEGAN FURST
Greater Lafayette’s locally owned businesses are the heart of our community. Small business owners invest a tremendous amount of time, energy, money and passion into their companies. Join us as we look back at the small business of the month winners recognized by Greater Lafayette Commerce in 2022.
Mecko’s Heating & Cooling
418½ Sagamore Parkway N., Lafayette
According to Dave Mecklenburg, owner of Mecko’s Heating & Cooling, helping people in need and building relationships based on loyalty, trust and honesty have been key to their mission for the past 18 years.
“We will do all things possible to help our clients,” Mecklenburg says. “Hearing our clients call in and say that our employees did an awesome job and were very professional while in their home is one of the most satisfying and proud moments of being a business owner in this incredible community.”
Mecko’s Heating & Cooling offers both residential and commercial services on HVAC systems. They also provide a 24-hour emergency service, where someone from the company will respond and immediately address the client’s needs.
Giving back through community service opportunities is important to Mecklenburg. He serves on the Lafayette Parks and Recreation board and delivers food for the food pantry and Lafayette Urban Ministry. Mecko’s also has supported numerous charity events such as the Ebony and Ivory Ball, Toast of Mental Health, Blue Knight Auction, March of Dimes, Transitional Housing Bingo and 100 Men Who Cook
Great Harvest Bread Co.
1500 Kossuth St., Lafayette
Another longtime small business in Greater Lafayette is Great Harvest Bread Co., co-founded by Jerry and Janet Lecy nearly 17 years ago. The bakery welcomes you to its historic Kossuth district location with the delightful smells of freshly baked bread and pastries, hot coffee and other delicious treats.
The Lecys came across the Great Harvest Bread Co. franchise while living in Orlando, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Jerry and Janet had been considering a new chapter in their lives, and they knew immediately that it was the perfect business for them.
“I try to avoid fear. It definitely took us out of our comfort zone — my wife more than myself,” Jerry says. “Even the first year, she was like, ‘Do you miss our old life?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I don’t even think about it. This is happening. This is good.’”
In addition to coffee, sandwiches and desserts, Great Harvest Bread sells on average 150 to 200 loaves of bread daily. Their bread ingredients are simple and include honey rather than high-fructose corn syrup.
“We are about the bread. We are about quality ingredients,” Jerry says. “The honey whole wheat, which is our signature bread, has five ingredients: water, salt, yeast, honey and flour. You can pronounce everything.”
Great Harvest Bread also values community and regularly donates leftover bread to charitable organizations such as Lafayette Urban Ministry, Trinity Mission, a local women’s shelter and more.
Sweet Revolution Bake Shop
109 N. Fifth St., Lafayette
Since opening in June 2017, Sweet Revolution Bake Shop has doubled its size to accommodate the growing business. Located in historic downtown Lafayette, Sweet Revolution is family-owned by siblings Sarah McGregor-Ray and Jonathan McGregor and mother Debbie McGregor.
Chef Sarah had always dreamed of running her own bakery, while her brother Jonathan had a hunger for being an entrepreneur.
“I knew Sarah was gifted with food when she was 10,” Debbie says. “She would help me cook, and I just let her do more and more all the time. She is very gifted. It’s fun to watch.”
Sweet Revolution features specialty, freshly baked pies and pastries with natural ingredients. They also offer made-from-scratch savory quiches, coffee and teas.
Following the success of Sweet Revolution Bake Shop, the McGregor family opened Revolution Barbeque in 2020, also located in downtown Lafayette. They’ve appreciated the support of the community and their loyal customers and look forward to additional projects in the future.
Sparkletone Dry Cleaners
238 E. State St., West Lafayette
Customer service has always been the top priority at Sparkletone Dry Cleaners — over the past 66 years. Sparkletone was founded in 1956 by Robert Dudley and handed over to his son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Jeanne Dudley.
They’ve always focused on delivering the best service to their customers, and Jeanne, especially, has enjoyed getting to know each one.
“If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business,” Jeanne says. “I’ve always liked people. I always have, so it’s easy for me.”
Scott and Jeanne’s two daughters, Kristin and Robin, took over the business after their parents’ retirement so Jeanne could provide care for Scott. He passed away last year, leaving behind a wonderful legacy and a thriving business.
Robin focuses her attention on customer service and enjoys talking to all the customers, much like her mother. Kristin manages the day-to-day operations. Together, they provide an in-house dry-cleaning and shirt laundry service. Their two-day services return clothes clean, pressed and ready to wear.
“We keep it simple. Customer service has always been our number one priority,” Robin says. “We greet our customers with a friendly smile, listen to their needs and provide an affordable and timely service. We thank our loyal customers for our continued success over the past 66 years.”
155 Win Hentschel Blvd., West Lafayette
The Homestead, located on Win Hentschel Boulevard in West Lafayette, opened in 2017 by owners Mike and Jody Bahler. The Bahlers already had one location in Remington but decided to add a second to expand and grow their customer base.
Having always dreamed of a catering business of her own, Jody was excited about the opportunity her sister-in-law, Heidi, shared with her back in 2010. There was a building available for rent in Remington that would be ideal to open a bulk food, baking and catering shop.
Jody loved experimenting with different recipes and would often make them ahead of time and freeze them for later. This convenience made it easier to feed her growing family.
She brought this take-and-bake approach to The Homestead, where customers can enjoy a large salad bar, deli lunches, catering, frozen and bulk foods and a gift shop.
“It’s not anything gourmet. It’s just homestyle, basic cooking,” Jody says. “It’s very much a homemade product when the customer gets it.”
The farmhouse featured in their logo is an illustration of Jody and Mike’s family home. “That’s how we named it The Homestead because it truly is a family homestead,” Jody says. “We wanted it to be just kind of a warm and welcoming feel when people visit and when people hear the name. It has that warm, cozy feel.”
311 Sagamore Parkway N., Ste. 6., Lafayette
Mark and Sandy Sweval opened Speed Pro Imaging in 2011, but rebranded to GLGraphix in 2019. GLGraphix offers large-format graphics such as displays, banners and images that grab an audience’s attention.
They both enjoy different aspects of the business, and it shows in the success they’ve shared over the years.
“I’ve always enjoyed the sales process,” Mark says. “I love the flexibility. I love the freedom. I loved being able to chart my own destiny being an owner of a small business.”
Their flexibility was tested, however, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. They had to quickly shift gears to make up for the lost revenue from large canceled indoor gatherings such as conventions and trade shows.
“I started really burning up the phone lines and calling people,” Mark says. “I found a way to replace the lost business.”
GLGraphix ended up designing thousands of COVID-related graphics for Purdue and area hospitals. This helped them stay afloat and come back even stronger.
The business is heavily involved in the community and supports Habitat for Humanity and the YMCA. They also provide discounted signage for numerous not-for-profit organizations in the Greater Lafayette area.
GLGraphix has been turned over to a new owner. In July 2022, Nathan Erber, founder of Mark VII Graphics, adopted the GLGraphix name and continues in the Swevals’ footsteps in providing quality graphics solutions to Greater Lafayette.
105 N. 10th St., Lafayette
Owner Timothy Balensiefer had high expectations for his company when he founded TBIRD Design in 2000. He had a five-year and 10-year plan for his design firm, yet he was able to accomplish all his goals within three years of business.
“It did grow a lot faster than we were expecting, but we knew there was a need in the community,” Balensiefer says. “Our clients trust us, and they like us. That’s why they come back.”
TBIRD Design helps prepare new industrial and commercial sites, assists local government in improving and extending infrastructure, evaluates boundaries, provides precise positioning and surveying and also creates residential neighborhoods.
The firm works with major industry players such as Purdue University, Caterpillar, Subaru and Wabash. They developed the Rise at Chauncey, a 16-story mixed-use project in West Lafayette that includes more than 21,000 square feet of retail space and 300 residential units. Additionally, TBIRD led the way for the HUB Plus building, which houses retail spaces and more than 200 residential units.
TBIRD Design also has worked on the design and construction of the downtown Lafayette streetscape and partners with the Tippecanoe School Corp. to develop new schools, athletic fields and other additions.
“We’re truly a local firm. That’s the way people feel about us,” Balensiefer says. “They know we’re local. We’ve been around for a long time.”
TBIRD gives back to the community and is a frequent sponsor of downtown events. It developed the Shamrock Dog Park in Lafayette and is working toward developing properties for the Boys and Girls Club, pro bono.
701 Main St., Lafayette
Instant Copy, located in downtown Lafayette, is a one-stop print shop. Established in 1986, Instant Copy merged with Lafayette Copier and Eco Shred in 2020 and is currently owned by T.J. and Dawn O’Bryan and managed by Toni Edmonson.
“Our customer service is our shining star here because we will always go out of our way to make sure that our customers are happy,” Edmonson says. “We want you to be satisfied with your project — whether we designed it, or you did.”
Instant Copy provides print, graphic design and bindery services, and customers can also shred documents in the store. Graphic artists are available to assist clients with design needs, including logos, business cards, brochures, posters and more.
It works with businesses such as Unity and Franciscan hospitals, Bauer Family Resources, Hartford House, Food Finders and St. Boniface. It also enjoys its regular customers who come in for help with printing, shipping labels, invitations and cards.
“We really try to branch out and work with a little bit of everybody,” Edmonson says. “Being that Instant Copy has been in business for so long, generally at one point or another, people have printed something with us.”
Instant Copy donates print materials for various nonprofit organizations — and prints flyers for missing persons and lost pets at no cost. “If there’s a customer in a hard spot, we do try to help out our community in that way with printing services,” Edmonson says.
Hearing Solutions of Indiana
– 750 Park East Boulevard, Suite 3,
– 480 West Navajo St., Suite A,
Additional Locations: Avon, Carmel, Delphi, Fishers, Franklin, Greenwood, IU Health Arnett, Kokomo and Zionsville
When Hearing Solutions of Indiana opened in 2018 with one location and one employee, it had no idea how quickly the business would grow in the next four years. Hearing Solutions of Indiana is led by husband and wife Michael and Dr. Judy Olson.
They offer several services to both new and existing hearing aid wearers, including fittings, repairs and programming. Hearing Solutions of Indiana also provides comprehensive hearing exams and treatment options for tinnitus.
In 2020, it added a second location in West Lafayette and has since expanded to include locations in Avon, Carmel, Delphi, Fishers, Franklin, Kokomo, Zionsville and IU Health Arnett. The newest location opened in Greenwood.
Judy and her team focus on providing the highest level of care and are committed to their patients and their employees. Judy understands what it means to have quality hearing, as she has worn hearing aids for 25 years.
“We’re always on the forefront of technology and that also helps us continue to grow — and to grow into new markets to bring the gift of better hearing to more and more people,” Judy says. “We have a passion for what we’re doing.”
“That’s what we’re about,” adds Michael. “It’s changing lives, and we’re committed to doing that throughout Central Indiana.”
Michael and Judy grew up in Greater Lafayette and feel fortunate to provide jobs to their 25 employees. They also enjoy sponsoring, educating and participating in community events. ★