When O’Malia Food Market closed in the summer of 2017, store manager Kyle Jorns figured he’d never step foot in the building again.
But Jorns will soon return to full-time work in the same space in Brookshire Village Shoppes, this time as the store director of Needler’s Fresh Market. The Ohio-based grocer is set to open its first store in Carmel by late July or early August.
“I was the last person to lock the doors when this had customers in it,” Jorns said. “When I walked in here first and saw the (renovation work), I said, ‘Holy cow, this is actually going to happen.’ It was an amazing moment. It’ll be quite a homecoming.”
Jorns, a Brownsburg resident, joined City of Carmel officials June 7 to give a tour of the Needler’s space under construction to nearby residents who have been eager for the store to open.
Needler’s will have many features found at most grocery stores, such as a bakery, deli and florist, but some of its unique offerings include hand-dipped ice cream, a juicer and a donut machine that dispenses batter into oil before being pulled out by a conveyor belt. Jorns said the area will include a window so customers can watch the process.
Needler’s will have a slightly smaller footprint than O’Malia Food Market, Jorns said.
“So many people want that alternative to the big box, where you go in and you walk a mile to fill up a cart of groceries,” Jorns said. “We want to keep things as your oversized pantry.”
The new grocery store will have many upgrades from the previous one in the space, Jorns said.
“It’s a far cry from what it was. There’s no resemblance,” he said. “Being able to see that transformation is finally (giving the site) the justice it deserves.”
Some of those upgrades are funded through a $2.5 million tax increment financing bond approved by the Carmel City Council in June 2020 to upgrade Brookshire Village Shoppes. Needler’s 10-year lease was dependent on the bonds being approved. Real estate investment firm KennMar, which purchased the shopping center for $6.4 million in September 2019, and Needler’s anticipated spending more than $5 million to upgrade the aging retail center with a fresh facade and enhanced entrance features.
Originally projected to open in late summer or early fall of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors led to several delays. Jorns said Needler’s is still waiting for some equipment to arrive, which could affect the opening date. Store management is working to hire approximately 100 employees. Learn more about job opportunities at needlersfreshmarket.com.
In addition to Needler’s, at least two other new tenants are expected to soon move into the shopping center. KennMar President and CEO Brent Benges declined to name the businesses, but he said one is a restaurant and the other provides physical therapy services.