MILLING ABOUT: Mill Street shops at Depot Street Park are set for summer crowds


GREENFIELD — What some saw as a smelly storage shed, two local entrepreneurs saw as an opportunity.

Thomas Moore and Ronnie Riggs, partners in Depot Street Investments, have turned a former fertilizer barn into a thriving retail space on the outskirts of Depot Street Park in Greenfield.

The 2,500 square-foot-space was previously used in conjunction with the adjacent grain elevator, both of which were previously owned by Co-Alliance.

The grain elevator was converted into The Depot restaurant, which has been thriving since it opened in September 2021.

Moore and Riggs are co-partners in that venture, too, along with two other owners, but the two men worked on their own to buy and renovate the former fertilizer barn on the southeast corner of Depot Street Park.

They purchased the elongated metal structure last September and spent 10 months converting it into retail space, which now houses Libby’s Ice Cream and Organic Robot Designs screenprint shop.

Moore and Riggs added a boardwalk on the side of the building facing the park to link the two shops together, and to provide a space for picnic tables and chairs where people can overlook the park.

The upscale deck ties in the look at the neighboring restaurant, which has its own deck overlooking the park.

In between the restaurant and retail space is an outdoor beer garden The Depot restaurant owners created last year. The garden got a lot of activity during last summer’s concerts, and Moore anticipates even more this year thanks to the addition of picnic tables and umbrellas on the patio.

He thinks concert crowds will also appreciate the addition of public restrooms within the recently renovated retail building. Moore said the restrooms would be opened up to the public during concerts at the park.

The Greenfield Parks Department kicks off its summer concert series Friday, June 9, and will host multiple concerts on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Depot restaurant will also host two of its own events in the park this year — Freedom Fest on July 1 and a Birthday Bash celebrating the restaurant’s second anniversary on Sept. 1.

Charlie Vetters, owner of Organic Robot Designs, can’t wait to print shirts for concertgoers this year.

“We are reaching out to these local bands and offering to live-print their own band shirts during the concerts. This is so exciting since many local bands do not have the money to purchase their own merch ahead of time, but know they could sell it if they had it available,” said Vetters.

“With the live print we only print what people purchase and split the money with the band, and they don’t have to put any money into it at all or purchase any inventory. We are excited to be able to support local musicians in this way.”

He’s also partnered with the parks department to do a live print of a special edition Depot Street Park summer concert series T-shirt in a vintage rock ‘n’ roll style.

“We will have the overhead door open and printing shirts as people purchase them,” said Vetters, who moved into his new 1,000-square-foot space May 1.

He’s still maintaining his shop at 113 W. Main St. as a retail space, while the Mill Street location will be used mostly for printing and engaging with the public during concerts.

“We love the (Main Street) space and being a part of historic downtown Greenfield, but we are also excited to be a part of the history in making that is happening right now on Depot Street,” said Vetters. “We are beyond blessed to have the opportunity to be in two of the most vibrant and trendy places in Greenfield.”

Libby Wyatt, owner of Libby’s Ice Cream shop, is excited about her new location as well.

She still runs her original ice cream shop in downtown Fortville, but expanded by opening her Greenfield location two years ago on the northeast corner of Depot Street Park.

Her recent move to the southeast corner of the park nearly tripled her space to 1,000 square feet, which has allowed her to add indoor seating.

“I love it,” Wyatt said of the new space. “It’s got a really nice energy, and working with everyone involved has been a lot of fun.”

For Vetters, moving into the new space has been chaotic but a labor of love.

“It has made things absolutely crazy with getting a 4,000-pound piece of equipment moved in and set up and in production, but the new press will allow us to produce more cool stuff in a shorter amount of time, and be less strenuous for employees,” he said.

“It also allows us to print more colors in designs and opens up new printing techniques like simulated process screen printing. What we are most excited about though is the opportunity to interact with our community in a different way during events.”

While many screenprinters focus on high volume output, Vetters said his business plan is more personal.

“We want to simply be Hancock County’s local go-to printer — somewhere people can stop by and tell us about your business or your projects, and we can come up with some cool stuff to show off their brands or passions.”

While production at the Mill Street site is up and running, Vetters said finishing off the space aesthetically will take another month or so. “We will be painting murals on a couple of the interior walls in the next few weeks and plan on posting on social media for anyone from the community that wants to help paint,” he said.

The community engagement is music to Moore’s ears.

The entrepreneur is looking forward to seeing how the new retail space and beer garden are received this summer, and is already thinking of new ways to make the surrounding area even better.

“People who know me and Ronnie know we’re always looking for that next space. That’s all I can say for now,” he said.