Shindigz gets party started
Shindigz party supply company got its downtown party started Wednesday with the unveiling of an exterior sign on its new corporate headquarters in the historic building at the southeast corner of Wayne and Harrison streets.
The 92-year-old company was praised by Mayor Tom Henry and other dignitaries for trusting in : and contributing to : what he called the “transformation” of downtown Fort Wayne.
“Frankly, you could have gone anywhere, as powerful as you have become,” Henry said of the company, which plans to bring 40 to 50 professional jobs downtown next year and 20 to 30 more if growth comes as company officials project.
Shep Moyle, Shindigz chairman and co-owner with his wife, Wendy, called the new location for the 92-year-old company “the best of both worlds” : even though the site splits executives from production and shipping facilities in South Whitley.
The company will occupy the entire fourth floor of the building, the former Patterson-Fletcher department store, he said. Customer service will remain at South Whitley, where more investment is planned, he said.
The four-story brick building has tenants occupying other floors, including the The Find, a boutique-style shop at street level. Shindigz plans to work with the upper-floor tenants as it negotiates its future space needs, he said.
The company office will have an open-concept design, Shep Moyle said, adding that Fort Wayne and Patterson-Fletcher memorabilia are being sought for decor.
Although the building has historic interest, it does not have a local or national historic designation.
The new sign was approved 4-0 last week by the Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals after the company sought a development standards exception for an upward-lit sign.
The zoning ordinance generally does not allow such signs because of light pollution and the production of glare. But the company successfully argued the light would taper in intensity as it reached the fourth floor and a cornice at the roof line would further contain light.
Shindigz officials told the zoners the sign would be lit with different colors for different seasons and events, such as the Three Rivers Festival and Fort4Fitness.
The lighting would aid not only recognition of the company but also “the enhancement of the nighttime landscape of downtown Fort Wayne,” according to the variance application.
The application also says Shindigz may ultimately place a technologically oriented retail outlet in the building. Officials said the privately owned company plans to rebrand the corner as Shindigz Place.
Henry said the company’s plan to expand downtown was an important aspect of economic development. “It’s not about just bringing companies in, but to help (them) grow,” he said.
Moyle said the additional employees would likely come partly from local university graduates. “While we’re in the party business, we’re really in the technology business,” he told The Journal Gazette after the ceremony.
The company will focus on people in the graphic design, marketing, information technology, and digital analytics fields, he said.
The ceremony was capped by pulling down a big blue curtain to reveal a long and narrow blue sign with white lettering vertically reading “Shindigz” on one side topped with multicolored confetti. Then an air cannon launched a voluminous shower of confetti from the roof.
Bill Brown, president of the Downtown Improvement District, called the new sign a sign of progress.
“More people downtown ultimately means more people in restaurants downtown and more people at downtown activities,” he said. “It also says a 92-year-old company can make being downtown a key feature of their future.”