Zionsville Merchants Bring Back the Best of the ’80s

September 2019

Writer // Janelle Morrison           Photography // Laura Arick and submitted

You are cordially invited to dig out your closets and hope chests and find your best—or worst—1980s apparel and accessories and join your local merchants for a totally tubular blast from the past! Bring on the “state fair hair” constructed with your favorite ozone-burning hair spray or dust off those crimpers and peg roll those jeans—we’re going to strike a pose on Main Street and support local to the max!

The six bodacious ladies who have organized this awesome trip down amnesia lane are Zionsville’s own Erica Carpenter, Lesley Hunt, Liz Esra, Allyson Gutwein, Angie McCloskey and Julie Wooldridge.

“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” will be held Thursday, October 3, at 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in downtown Zionsville, where 20-plus retailers and restaurants will be having special deals and incentives throughout the night in honor of one of the most diverse decades in American history.

While fashion and pop culture are as fickle as “Dynasty’s” off-screen relationships, one truth has remained constant over the decades—the nation’s small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. These six merchants have pulled their resources and imaginations to create a fun-filled evening that promotes supporting local while evoking a sense of community and creativity among residents.

All attendees are highly encouraged to come dressed in their own interpretations of the ’80s, and as the evening winds down on Main Street, prizes will be given. A special prize for “Best Dressed” will be awarded to the most radical costume, judged by a small panel of local residents that will include Sherman Burdette of Fox 59 WXIN Indianapolis and Janelle Morrison of Carmel Monthly and Zionsville Monthly.

Pumping up the jams in the check-in tent on Main and Pine streets will be local on-air personality Chris Wooldridge—Julie’s husband— with Hank FM and B105.7 FM, spinning the tunes of your favorite hair bands, new wave, synth-pop or classic rock artists that will take you back to when high-speed dubbing and Sony Walkmans were cool.

The collaborating merchants shared what hosting this event means to them and what they hope the public takes away from it.

“‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ is about people coming out and having fun, but it is also about people coming and supporting not only our [respective] business but our neighboring businesses as well,” Allyson Gutwein, manager at Midwest Jewelers and Estate Buyers, said. “When one small business supports another, it helps everybody.”

Zionsville Merchants

Lesley Jane’s owner, Lesley Hunt, credited Erica Carpenter for bringing the idea to Main Street. “Erica had this idea, and I thought this was the coolest thing ever,” Hunt exclaimed. “There is something really wonderful about being able to create a promotion that not only supports the businesses but engages the whole community. The most remarkable part about this promotion is that it really is a grassroot effort that we—the merchants—are doing ourselves, and that is a testament to the nature of our business community.”

Zionsville Merchants

Giving credit to another Zionsville merchant, fivethirty home’s owner Erica Carpenter said she was inspired by Judy Revis with Boutique 33 and her stories about “Diva Night” in Noblesville when Revis had her storefront there.

Zionsville Merchants

“I want to thank Judy [Revis] because she gave us a lot of history to work from,” Carpenter said. “We took that and modified the idea to what we wanted to do, and the ’80s theme just came to us. I’m excited to see what each business is going to do and how the people who attend are doing to dress up. We will have a photobooth so groups can take pictures. It’s going to be fun to see what people come up with.”

Regarding her fellow committee members, Carpenter said, “We each bring our different strengths and are willing to do fun things. I’m calling this the inaugural ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ because I hope that we will do this event for years to come.”

The owners of Cobblestone are known community supporters and have hosted and co-hosted several events that benefit the community, so it came as no surprise that Liz Esra was all in.

Zionsville Merchants

“I thought the idea was amazing and is going to be a lot of fun,” Esra said. “Anytime a new event comes around that can spark interest with people and bring them downtown to remind them of all that Zionsville has to offer, it is a great opportunity for everybody. It is wonderful to work together [as businesses] and support each other in that manner.”

The new kids on the block—pun intended— Angie McCloskey and Julie Wooldridge with Zionsville Oil Tap are looking forward to introducing people who have not frequented their storefront yet to the incredible products and customer experience they offer.

Zionsville Merchants

“I look at this [event] as a front porch type of event,” McCloskey said. “I love sitting on front porches and getting to know my neighbors. I love downtown Zionsville, and I love the fact that we’re getting out on our ‘front porches’ and inviting people to come into our shops so they can get to know us, see what we have to offer and see that we are a lot of fun!”

Wooldridge added, “For us, it’s an opportunity for people to get to know us and realize that we are here. Getting our name out and helping with events like ‘Meet the Merchants’ and ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ is good for not only us but all of the businesses. It is also a great way to get people out here and see what’s here in the village of Zionsville.”

Zionsville Merchants

Mark your calendars and don’t miss the most radical ’80s party this town has ever seen!

Participating Merchants: 

Art in Hand 

Blue Moon Hairplace

Boutique 33

Cobblestone

CV Art and Frame

fivethirty home

Frances and Parke

Hopwood Cellars

Jewel Box Jewelers

Lemon Bar

Lesley Jane

Michele’s On Main

Midwest Jewelers

Robert Goodman Jewelers

Roasted in the Village 

Rush on Main

Salty Cowboy

Serenity

Southern Fancy

Vintage Charm

The Village Antique Mall

Zionsville Olive Tap