When the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, many local businesses were forced to close their doors. The future of Bloomington’s small businesses was, and remains, uncertain. As cases continue to climb in the state, some businesses are making the choice to close permanently. Meanwhile, several new businesses have opened during this challenging time. Below is a running list of both, which Bloom will continue to update.
Please feel free to comment new or closing businesses below, or email [email protected] with list updates or corrections.
UPDATE: Laughing Planet Cafe
In August, Laughing Planet permanently closed. The restaurant—which served burritos, quesadillas, nachos, and more—was a Bloomington staple for 20 years. It was well-known for its vegan and vegetarian options.
“We are announcing the permanent closure of The Laughing Planet Cafe in Bloomington,” the owners said on Facebook on August 12. “We want to thank all of the team members (past and present) who have always made LP a great place to grab a quick healthy tasty meal, we couldn’t have done it without you. We also want to thank the Bloomington Community for all of their support over the last twenty years, you will be missed greatly.”
Bloomington Sandwich Company
On November 25, 2020, Bloomington Sandwich Company closed after 15 years. The restaurant, which opened in 2005, was located at 118 E. Kirkwood and offered a variety of sandwiches, melts, soups, and salads.
Blue Heron Woodworking Supplies
Blue Heron closed its doors on July 31, 2020, after five years in Bloomington.
“I have decided to close Blue Heron and retire to my home in Brown County. Serving the Bloomington and Central Indiana woodworking community has been a great honor and a pleasure,” said owner Michael Evans in a post on the shop’s website. “I am sad to have made this decision but I believe it is time for me to move on. I hope to maintain contact with all of the friends I have made during my tenure as proprietor of Blue Heron. It has been a good ride.”
Chop Shop, formerly located on East Kirkwood, has closed. The restaurant served made-to-order salads.
Darn Good Soup
On April 21, 2020, Darn Good Soup owner Nels Boerner announced that the downtown restaurant would be closing indefinitely due to the pandemic.
“Thank you all for the support over the years, we’ve made a lot of friends,” Boerner wrote in a Facebook post announcing the closure. “We might be back in a new location at a time unknown. We will miss feeding you.”
In December 2020, d’Vines announced it would be closing. Located on Bloomington’s West Side near the Dillon apartment complex, d’Vines offered wine and wine tasting experiences.
Gaza Modern Japanese Cuisine
In September 2020, Gaza Modern Japanese Cuisine closed. “We did our best to stay open, and endured for 6 months,” the owners announced on the Gaza website. “In the end, our efforts couldn’t combat the grievous financial impact of the pandemic. Unfortunately we have made the difficult decision to close this restaurant.”
The Highland Lounge
Located on Curry Pike near Bloomfield Road, the Highland Lounge prided itself on its close-knit community of regulars and laid-back atmosphere.
Japonee, formerly located on North Walnut Street, has closed. Japonee Express on Kirkwood remains open for carry out orders.
National chain T-Swirl Crepe offers naturally gluten-free, Japanese-style crepes. The Bloomington location on Kirkwood has closed permanently.
La Vie en Rose
La Vie en Rose owner Stephanie Laparre announced on June 2, 2020, that the café would close its doors on June 28.
“I hope to see you then and to have a chance to say our goodbyes,” Laparre wrote in a Facebook post.
Moe’s Southwest Grill
In 2020, Moe’s Southwest Grill closed. The chain restaurant served burritos, quesadillas, nachos, and other Americanized Mexican food.
Monroe County Martial Arts
After nearly 30 years in Bloomington, Monroe County Martial Arts, 223 S. Pete Ellis Dr., closed on June 30, 2020.
“When we opened in November of 1991, our mission statement was to provide Monroe County’s citizens with safe, affordable, and fun training in the martial arts. After considering the safety precautions available for re-opening in the present pandemic, we cannot with any confidence see how we can maintain a single one of the three facets of our mission statement,” said owners Steve and Linda Scott in a Facebook post.
Long-time Bloomington restaurant Opie Taylor’s has closed. A popular dining and drinking spot for Indiana University students, Opie Taylor’s served beer and bar fare. On Tuesday, August 11, 2020, the restaurant, located on the downtown Square, sported signs in the windows announcing its permanent closure.
The Persimmon Inn, formerly located on West Fourth Street, has permanently closed.
“I am so appreciative of the over 5 years we served the Bloomington community,” says inn owner Sue Fratianni. “As we move on to the next chapter in our lives, we say our goodbyes and will hold fond memories in our hearts of the thousands of delightful guests who we have been blessed to touch our lives for many years to come.”
Piace Boutique, which was located on East Kirkwood before moving to a space in College Mall, has permanently closed. The boutique offered curated fashions, jewelry, shoes, and home decor goods.
The Pourhouse Cafe
In October 2020, the Pourhouse announced it would close semi-permanently at the end of the month.
“In order to remain a viable business, we will be shutting our doors, entering an ‘inactive’ state as a business, and beginning to search for a location to call our future home, where we hope to re-open when the market and state of things has resumed some semblance of normalcy,” the business said in a Facebook post. “We have absolutely loved serving Kirkwood and Bloomington as a whole, and we cannot wait to announce our ability to begin serving once again in new ways and old.”
Pygmalion’s Art Supplies
After more than 48 years in Bloomington, Pygmalion’s Art Supplies closed on June 30, 2020. In a statement released on June 1, owner Nancy Crenshaw explained that the store’s building was sold earlier this year and that it had become too costly to maintain the business in the current economy.
“This was not an easy decision to come to,” Crenshaw wrote. “My brother [former owner] John Wilson loved Bloomington and he loved the art community. My full intention after he passed away was to keep his business continuing as one of Bloomington’s iconic businesses. I simply cannot see that happening in our current situation.”
Tandoor & Tikka
Tandoor & Tikka, 250 S. Washington St., has closed. The build-your-own entree Indian restaurant, which opened in February 2019, was part of a chain that aims to introduce modern Indian fare to Midwestern communities.
Vance Music Center
After 72 years in Bloomington, Vance Music Center announced it would be permanently closing on August 30, 2020.
“We want to thank all of our loyal customers and friends we have met over the years,” the shop said in a Facebook post.
A Little Downtown Cafe
In March 2021, A Little Downtown Café opened on Fourth Street, serving breakfast and diner food. The restaurant shares a building with India Garden, which opened in 2013. Both eateries are owned by Bloomington restaurateur Rakesh Kumar.
This Asian fusion restaurant offers pho and other Thai dishes, bubble tea, and traditional Thai baked goods.
Blooming Thai opened at the end of August at the former location of Darn Good Soup, 107 N. College Ave.
Board & Brush Creative Studio
Board & Brush Bloomington, located at 522 N. Morton St., offers workshops where participants decorate wooden boards with quotes and pictures to be used as wall décor.
The guided workshops provide an opportunity for participants to follow along with an expert and create the best possible finished product. Wine is available for purchase.
Learn more at boardandbrush.com/Bloomington.
Brilliant Coffee Company
Located in the Alley Works building on West 6th Street, Brilliant Coffee Company serves coffee drinks and artisan gelato. Ten flavors of gelato (all are gluten free) and seven flavors of sorbetto (dairy- and gluten-free) are on rotation to accompany classic beverages like cappuccinos and café mochas.
Learn more at brilliantcoffeeco.com.
Burgers, Wings, & Things
Burgers, Wings, & Things is located at the former site of Moe’s Southwest Grill, 115 State Road 46 and serves sandwiches, salads, wings, and fries. Burgers can be made with gluten-free buns and Impossible patties for customers with special dietary requests.
Located at 1155 S. College Mall Rd., the new Bloomington Crumbl Cookies location is one of the latest in a national chain offering specialty, fresh-baked cookies.
Diamond K Sweets
Diamond K Sweets, which has been located in Spencer, Indiana, since 2013, has now opened its second shop in Bloomington at 224 N. College.
DK Sweets offers toffee, peanut brittle, caramels, gummies, chocolate-covered espresso beans, hard candies, and their signature Fudge O’Bits, which earned attention in 2017 when Menards began selling them nationwide.
Learn more at diamondksweets.com.
Dunkin’ and Baskin Robbins
Dunkin’ has opened a Bloomington store on College Mall Road in the former Steak ‘n Shake building. It officially opened on December 7, becoming Bloomington’s only Dunkin’ location.
The location will be shared with a Baskin Robbins ice cream and specialty cake shop.
Eric Gordon’s Greek’s Pizzeria has opened in the Evolve Apartment complex on North Dunn Street. The shop, which is currently serving 13 kinds of pizza, salads, breadsticks, and sandwiches, opened in November. It currently has 15 employees and socially distanced tables. Learn more here.
Griffy’s Art Supply
Griffy’s Art Supply has opened at 725 W. Kirkwood Ave, offering supplies for drawing, painting, printmaking, film photography, and more. Learn more here.
Bloomington smoothie bar Healthy Hoosiers, opened on June 4, 2020, serving fruit and specialty smoothies, colorful “energy bomb” drinks, and blended coffee beverages with low-sugar and fat-burning options.
Healthy Hoosiers is located at 211 S. Grant St. Learn more at facebook.com/healthyhoosiers.
Hoosier Seoulmate Korean Restaurant
This family-owned restaurant offers traditional Korean fare as well as special Korean-Hoosier fusion dishes like Kimchi Bacon Fried Rice and the Hoosier Rice Bowl, which includes scrambled eggs and spam and is topped with a mayonnaise-based drizzle.
Hoosier Seoulmate is located at 1614 W. 3rd St.
The Hot Room
The Hot Room Bloomington offers hot yoga and pilates and is now open on College Mall Road.
The Hot Room also has locations in Fishers and Indianapolis.
A Jersey Mike’s sub shop has opened in Bloomington. The restaurant, which offers a variety of sandwiches, will be located at 2618 E. 10th St.
The national chain has several other locations in Indiana, including those in Indianapolis, New Albany, Fort Wayne, South Bend, and Zionsville.
Learn more here.
Lan Ramen & Aqua Tea
Lan Ramen & Aqua Tea, located at 250 S. Washington St., serves blended tea beverages and ramen.
Move Bloomington is an exercise training studio that provides one-on-one programming in a mirror-free, scale-free environment. The studio is located at 207 N. Washington St.
Nat’s Bakery and Cafe
Open now, Nat’s Bakery and Cafe serves specialty coffee drinks, made-to-order omelettes, sandwiches, salads, soups, and ice cream.
Located at the former site of Stefano’s in Fountain Square Mall, Nat’s also offers baked goods, including vegan and gluten-free options.
NOURISH Bar, on West Sixth Street, sells specialty cocktails and fresh soups, salads, and paninis. Vegetarian and vegan options are available.
One night in December 2019, Talia Halliday dreamt that she owned a plant store named oak. As the owner of Gather on the downtown Square, Halliday has experience running a business, so she decided to make “oak.” a reality.
Inspired by her own love of houseplants and their popularity at Gather, Halliday drew up the plans for a store that would offer not only the living plants, but also plant-related décor, art, jewelry, and gifts.
The opening date for oak. had already been scheduled when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“It’s been truly unlike any experience I’ve ever had in my life,” Halliday says. “We were set to open on March 24, which was a week after we shut down our other store [Gather] because of COVID.”
Despite the pandemic and some setbacks acquiring plants to sell—“Growers and nurseries are busier than they ever have been!”—Halliday says oak. has had a successful first few months.
“People were interested in houseplants pre-pandemic, but the pandemic has just made them more so,” she explains. “They want to take care of something. Watch something grow. Have something beautiful. Be a part of life. And we can provide that for them.”
Halliday credits part of the shop’s success to its online presence.
“Because we had the extra two months to figure things out, we were able to get our online store functional much quicker than getting [Gather] online,” she says.
She also focused on growing oak.’s social media following—amassing more than 1,870 followers across Facebook and Instagram during the statewide COVID-19 lockdown.
Learn more at facebook.com/oak.bloomington.
PopKorn! Kernels with a Twist
Now located at 122 S. College, PopKorn! Kernels with a Twist offers over 30 sweet and savory popcorn varieties flavored with real foods like cheeses, peppers, nuts, and banana chips. Two flavors are vegan, and 80% of PopKorn! products are gluten free.
Owner Virginia Githiri, a self-avowed foodie, says she got the idea for PopKorn! during trips to Chicago, where she saw stand-alone popcorn shops.
“I like to eat, and popcorn is one of my favorite snacks,” Githiri says. “I wanted to try that but with a really tasty product I could call gourmet.”
After announcing its closure in July 2020, Rocky’s Pizza has reopened. The restaurant, which uses a sauce recipe created by owner Rocky Rice’s father, Fred, in the 60s, has opened at its previous location, 1713 N. College.
Located on College Mall Road, Sakura 15 is a hibachi and sushi restaurant. Its grand opening was December 15–17, 2020.
Located at 222 N. College Ave., Soul Juice is a juice bar that will offer fresh fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies. The shop will also offer açaí bowls, organic oatmeal, vegan treats, parfaits, and fruit bowls.
Learn more here.
Volonte Testosterone Therapy
Volonte Testosterone Therapy has locations in Bloomington, Kokomo, and Lafayette.
The recently opened Bloomington location is on College Mall Road, and offers testosterone screenings, injections, and pellets. For more information, visit volonteman.com.
In addition, a new high-end restaurant will be opening in Bloomington later in 2021. Bloom will share more details as they become available.