Founded in the spring of 2005, Binford Redevelopment and Growth, Inc. (BRAG) is a group of local citizens whose mission is the commercial and residential enhancement of Binford Boulevard and adjacent neighborhoods.
The organization has grown into a community organization with a broader focus, addressing economic and quality-of-life issues facing residents and businesses in the area bound by Sargent Road on the east, 82nd Street on the north, Dean Road on the west and 56th Street and Fall Creek Road on the south.
BRAG is a 501(c)3 organization.
Tom Binford has been described as a “City, State and National Treasure”. Members of BRAG couldn’t agree more, and we find it most fitting that the north-south corridor into Indianapolis on the north east side of the city has been named Binford Boulevard. It is even more appropriate that BRAG has chosen to look to Mr. Binford as a source of inspiration. A 1994 Boy Scout tribute to Tom Binford put it this way, “He has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all members of the community, helping in significant ways to make Indianapolis a great place to call home.”<
Perhaps Tom Binford’s most notable accomplishment was Chief Steward of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race for 22 years, from 1974-1995. He served on a number of corporate boards, including the Indianapolis Water Company, Indianapolis Power and Light, Bio-Dynamics, Boehringer-Mannheim (Roche), INB/NBD/Bank One.
He was a founder of the Indianapolis Urban League and the US Auto Club (USAC) and served as president of the Indiana Pacers and chairman of the Indianapolis Raceway Park. In addition, he devoted his time and talents to numerous professional, social, civic and educational boards and committees, such as Goodwill Industries. He was a director of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, served as acting president of DePauw University, and a trustee of Rose-Hulman Institute. Binford was the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Sagamore of the Wabash and the Columbia Club’s Benjamin Harrison Medallion for distinguished service.
Tom Binford attended Park-Tudor, Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter, NH) and Princeton University. BRAG is proud to have Tom Binford as a role model and guiding star as we, too, work to “improve the quality of life for all members of the community, helping in significant ways to make the BRAG area a great place to call home.”
The Story of Binford Shoppes
My husband, Bob Carr, bought the entire northwest corner of 71st and Binford back in the late 1960’s when it was a farm. Over the years he built the shopping center known as Devonway Service Center comprised of two separate buildings with retail tenants including Hooks Drug Store, Standard Grocery, The Stable Influence Restaurant, 21st Amendment, Sullivan Hardware, Mailing Station, Mane Street, and many others. He sold off parts of the land to other businesses like Marathon, Devonshire automotive, Maaco and Car Wash.
In 2003 he felt the shopping center was getting old and needed a major change and he began to meet with Kroger to entice them to come to our corner. It meant re-acquiring some of the pieces of land he had sold and it became a very complicated puzzle, but Bob had great faith and was determined to get this done. We began to empty the shopping center in preparation of this major change and our income dwindled to almost nothing.
Before he could complete the Agreement with Kroger, he died of a brain aneurism and the project fell to me. I had almost no experience as a real estate developer. The day after Bob’s funeral the bank called demanding a meeting whereupon they tried to foreclose saying there was no way this project would ever be completed. It took nearly 1 ½ years and a couple of lawyers to keep the bank at bay while I worked to get the project finalized. I even took on a partner to help provide financial backing.
Needless to say it was an incredibly frightening time for me. Not only grieving Bob, my best friend who had been at my side for 36 years, but everything we had was hanging on this development. If I lost this property, I would have lost everything. And there were times when things seemed to bog down, looking like the whole thing would fall apart.
That’s when BRAG made a difference in my life. I stayed in close touch with Larry Riggle and others at BRAG, giving updates on the behind-the-scene activities. We knew having Kroger on board would make such a difference in jump-starting a better, stronger retail presence on the corner for the entire BRAG area. I always felt that the BRAG people supported this project and me. In fact at one point of inactivity, BRAG conducted a letter-writing campaign to the president of Kroger stating loudly that they REALLY wanted Kroger in their neighborhood and wanted it soon. I am convinced that THAT is what turned the corner on the project. Immediately after Kroger received these letters, momentum picked up and, obviously, the project was finished.
I gutted and completely renovated my part of the remaining shopping center, making the building look as classy and impressive as the BRAG area deserved. The new shopping center is Binford Shoppes and has some really GREAT tenants including my three long-time loyal tenants: The Mailing Station, Mane Street Family Hair Care, and 21st Amendment. And we have great new tenants: Key Bank, Farm Bureau Insurance, AT&T Wireless, Pet Wellness Clinic, Beach Body, Golden Dragon, The Tech Stop and Subway.
I am so proud of what has been accomplished. It’s amazing what you are able to do – especially when you are fighting for your life. I am so thankful for the support of the people in BRAG.
I tell everyone I meet how crucial BRAG was in helping me get this done. BRAG is so well-organized, insightful, intelligent and comprised of very, very nice people. It is rare to see a neighborhood group that is so effective in taking charge and improving their neighborhood! Please keep up the momentum. There’s no telling what you can accomplish!