A Shopping Trip in Carmel

A shopping trip can brighten the dreariest of days, and it’s even better if you don’t have to go inside. Welcome to Clay Terrace, Indiana’s first outdoor shopping and lifestyle mall. Since opening in October 2005, it’s been home to fabulous stores, restaurants and lots of activities to satisfy both young and old. This summer we decided to take a walking/eating/talking tour. We burned a few calories as we strolled, refueled over lunch (so many choices!), dished with some interesting people, and bought a bunch of stuff too. Hey, all in the name of research. This is what we learned. Alexandra Gagnier, the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Clay Terrace, was our first contact. She suggested that “what sets Clay Terrace apart, in addition to its ease and accessibility, is the variety of options for every shopper. Not only are there traditional men’s, women’s, teens and kids clothing stores, there are also personal services such as HTL Yoga, Survival Fitness, HMA, St. Vincent Sports Performance and spas such as David & Mary and Trichology. Professional services can be found at Old National and Charles Schwab.” We all agreed that shopping definitely falls into the sports category. “In addition, there is a wide selection of food and dining establishments,” Alexandra continued, “that range from Whole Foods Market to quick service vendors to refined dining restaurants. And after you’ve finished your meal, there are innumerable choices for entertainment. We’re thrilled to be home to the Carmel Community Players, who bring live theater to viewers of all ages. There’s a play area for energetic kids, and tenants like Color Me Mine and Oliver’s Twist that provide painting and crafts. Seasonal events are held throughout the year as well, including the annual Clay Terrace Easter Egg Hunt, Mom’s Nite Out, Summer Concert Series and Boo ‘N Brew.” We promised to check out their website – www.clayterrace.com – for store and event details, and then headed out the door to visit Jennifer Sinclair, the owner of Purse Strings. Jennifer was among the first tenants to open in Clay Terrace with what was initially called Vera Bradley. After eight years in business she has many good things to say about her experiences as a retailer. “I recently changed the store’s name to Purse Strings when we added additional lines like Pandora, Bradley and Alex & Ani to go along with our Vera Bradley products. With the great traffic here we haven’t missed a beat.” Does traffic vary with the seasons? Not much, according to Jennifer. “Of course we see more customers during the holidays, but the mall is so well maintained that we attract lots of people no matter what the time of year. I feel like Clay Terrace has recreated a small town atmosphere with its broad boulevards and green areas, interesting mix of stores, and wide variety of architectural styles. They also host amazing activities; the carolers that visit during Christmas are one of my favorites.” As a result of our discussions with Jennifer and Alexandra, we left with a new appreciation for this beautiful outdoor facility. Clay Terrace has continued to thrive despite economic challenges and extensive renovations to State Road 31. Construction is almost complete, and has already made access to their mall much more convenient. Prepare to navigate a few of Carmel’s famous roundabouts on your way to a shopping experience you won’t forget.

Thanks to Alexandra Gagnier, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Clay Terrace and Jennifer Sinclair, Owner of Purse Strings