For a semester-long Professional Practice course, Jackie Closurdo, Chad Gerner, and I collaborated to improve Pogue’s Run Grocer’s local neighborhood impact by changing the perception of the neighborhood for their largely suburban customer base.
As a for-profit arm of the Indy Food Coop,is charged with spreading food education through community outreach. —But they were also a local business anchor in an economically depressed food desert in urban Indianapolis.
In a neighborhood whose residents travel half an hour by bus for affordable food,’s “outreach” offered little that locals knew or cared about.
Our most viable option was a portable cart we called the Mobile Market, built using available, inexpensive food-safe materials, minimal tools and skills, to serve as both point of sale and information kiosk for locals.
After we made the handoff, new leadership informed us that their charter (which had not been made available to us) did not permit off-premises marketing.donated our prototype to a farmers’ market where, last I checked, it was still in use for the purposes it was created.
Speedway,, an enclave of Indianapolis, has its single-branch library surrounded by branches. They had no consistent branding, no plans to repair their lapsed partnership with the , and no active outreach or marketing.
The’s Board also perceived periodic threat of consolidation efforts and tax caps. Their for-profit Board consisted entirely of volunteers; the two Boards only met monthly, and only 3 of the 8 members had email addresses.
All communication was broken off after an interview during which the library’s Director mistook “ethnographic” to mean “ethnic” research.
As this was primarily a research project, there were no deliverable assets, only a list of recommendations for the library’s benefit. Chiefest among these was repurposing an underused meeting room into a café / cultural center. This renovation would provide independent income and to make the library a destination for both locals and the half million visitors the town receives every year.
There were no results. After communication with the library was terminated, the only recipients of my findings were my classmates for critique, and to my professor for a grade. At the time of this writing, the library still operates much as it did at its founding in 1965.