By Joseph S. Pete; May 13th, 2018

One boutique departed downtown Griffith, and another moved right in.

Bee & Me has taken over the former Renovar space at 100 S. Broad St. on the corner of Main and Broad streets in downtown Griffith.

The five-year-old boutique had been tucked away in an industrial park on the southeast side of town in Our Textile Hive, an industrial laundry, uniform, and creative design company founded by Breanne Stover. The Dominican University graduate and lifelong Indiana resident bought the Great Lakes Naval Academy’s laundry facility, moved it to Griffith, and handles industrial laundry for contractors at the steel mills and a growing number of clients.

“The boutique was just in a tiny room in the laundry business,” she said. “It’s nice to be in downtown Griffith now. There’s a lot more visibility and traffic.”

The boutique, which takes its name after Stover’s nickname, sells Magnolia home decor and clothes for women, men and children, including flame-resistant clothing for steel mills, school uniforms and spirit wear.

“We travel all over and look for different popular styles,” she said. “Our clothing is comfortable and reasonable.”

Bee & Me has a kids’ play area to keep children entertained while their parents shop, and plans to bring in a Cute as a Cupcake express shop similar to a Starbucks in a Target.

“The cupcakes will be in little cake boxes and will be packaged to go home,” Stover said. “There will also be drinks. We want it to be a hangout place for families. We’ll have the kid’s area and things like yoga.”

Bee & Me, which employs about 10 workers, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Stover is further expanding her growing business empire by buying the former Griffith State Bank across the street at the southeast corner of Main and Broad streets in downtown Griffith, which she’s transforming into an event space that will be called The Bankquet.

The stately Colonial Revival-style building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will host weddings, company functions and other events.

“I always loved that building and saw it was for sale,” she said. “My husband works in historic restoration.”

They plan to add a glass conservatory onto the building for baby showers and cocktail hours. They plans to work with local caterers once the events venue is up and running later this year.”

The historic brick and limestone-trimmed bank building at 101 E. Main St. was built in 1920 with a temple-like appearance, a terrazzo floor, pedimented entry, Doric columns, a barrel-vaulted ceiling, a raised stone portico in the center bay and friezes with engravings of money bags and quills and ledgers.

The original inhabitant, the Griffith State Bank, closed briefly during the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and then was shuttered for good in 1933 when it became insolvent during the depth of the Great Depression.

It became the Samuel B. Woods Branch of the Griffith Public Library, and served in that role until 1967. Most recently, it was home to a sign shop.

Renovations are underway, and Stove hopes to have The Bankquet open later this year.

For more information, visit


The Shipwreck Bar & Grill is sailing into Griffith.

Alexandra Hobby and her parents Joe and Cindy Drish are opening the beach-themed seafood restaurant at the site of the former Romano’s and Soprano’s at 840 S. Broad St. in Griffith.

“Our inspiration comes from 25 years of spending vacations as a family in Clearwater Beach, Florida,” Hobby said. “Our menu consists of all of our family favorites seafood items from Florida as well as sandwiches, specialty pizzas, Nashville Hot chicken, steaks, and salads.”

They’re working to transform the building into a beach vacation-themed oasis with murals of dolphins, sea turtles and other aquatic creatures. Shipwreck Bar & Grill will seat 180 diners and another 80 in a 2,000-square-foot patio with bags, fire pits, and a Tiki ring toss game. The bar and grill will often host solo acoustic acts on a music stage to add to the relaxed vibe.

“We will also have live entertainment for our guests to enjoy,” Hobby said. “We are so excited to offer our guests a relaxing and enjoyable experience while serving up some delicious meals. The vision for this restaurant came from a family and we truly want our guests to feel that.”

The patio will likely be open from April to September or October, and diners will be encouraged to eat there. It will have a selection of 20 craft beers on tap and put a focus on “fun drinks” like Hurricanes, Mai Tais, daiquiris, and margaritas.

“This corner needed to be brought back to life,” Hobby said. “We want people to feel like they’re on a little vacation in Northwest Indiana. We don’t want people to just come to enjoy a good meal. We want them to relax and enjoy some live music because we’re selling that experience.”

Chef Gale Wismiller, who most recently worked for a catering company in Chicago, is crafting a seafood menu that includes the grouper that’s popular in Florida, red snapper, mahi mahi fish tacos, blackened halibut, salmon and fish by the pound.” Everything will be made from scratch in the kitchen.

“We’re really excited to be part of Griffith. It’s been built up so much over the last few years,” Hobby said.

Shipwreck Bar & Grill is currently looking to hire around 50 workers.

For more information, call 219-513-8342.