After Edward Heche’s passing in 1951, the Heche’s five and dime store at 8-10 S. Main St. was owned and managed by Edward’s sons Ivan and Adrian Heche.
Adrian’s wife, Phyllis, handled the bookkeeping until she retired 35 years later. Barbara Lewark, sister of Ivan’s wife, Virginia “Gino,” worked for Heche’s for more than 35 years. Gino had been with the store since 1932. All of the Fortville children have Gino Heche to thank for running Toyland on the second floor every Christmas.
All three of Phyllis and Adrian’s daughters worked at the soda fountain, as did a granddaughter, Tammy. Lewark’s granddaughter worked there as well.
Most of the Heche family members, including the children of Edward’s daughter Joyce, worked at the store at some point in their lives.
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Ivan Heche would say the reason people kept coming back was for the cherry Cokes and other old-fashioned sodas. But one might argue it was the customer service.
Ivan later told a reporter with the Fortville Community Shopper: “The old-time stores are all gone. That is, they’ve changed. There’s no service. You can’t hardly find anybody to wait on you anymore in these big stores. That’s one thing that kept us going. We served the people. We waited on them. If they had questions, we could answer them.”
Adrian Heche’s daughter, Dorinda Arnold, mentioned that her father was always on call to offer advice about painting or wallpaper projects during work hours and off.
Sadly, all good times must end. After 62 years of a Heche’s store in Fortville, Ivan and Adrian decided to retire and sell it in 1986. Adrian continued to work as a community tax consultant, and Ivan was able to travel with Gino, go to football games and help out at the senior center in Fortville.
The store was bought by John Howell and later renamed Phoebe’s Corner Market House to reflect the location of the original village that was moved and later named Fortville. In the early 1900s, the original village location was referred to as Phebe Fort’s Corner.
The new store offered various corners, or niches, of stock: Card Corner with cards, party goods, and gift wrap; Kid’s Corner with toys and books; Cottage Corner with paints, fabric, wallpaper, home accessories and decorating items; Candy Corner with sweets; Company Corner with school and office supplies; Teen Corner; and Cookie Corner with fresh-baked croissants, muffins, cookies and a small deli. The soda fountain was moved to the center of the store as a focal piece where the old-fashioned sodas, shakes and malts were still served.
Heche’s store has been many things since 1946, including the starting point of New Life Christian Fellowship; the church now has its own building east of Mt. Vernon Schools on State Road 234.
Heche’s now houses Indulge Café and is owned by Lenzy Hendrix, who is helped by his daughter-in-law, Crystal (Beatty) Hendrix.
The café features the original soda fountain from 1946 with an assortment of candies and a lunch menu. The back of the café offers tables, chairs and possible buffet-style lunches for appointed meetings and get-togethers.
Even though a Heche’s store no longer exists and Edward, Clara, and their children have passed on, those who grew up in Fortville hold on to their wonderful memories of the people, the place and the service that Heche’s provided.
Though it goes through various names and owners, 8-10 S. Main St. will always be referred to as “the old Heche’s store,” and the name will continue to be synonymous with the town of Fortville for many years to come.