The block of East Washington Street between Fifth St. and Main St. is a stretch that if ever in need of a meeting place or something to do, the block offers coffee shops and stores to gather or quickly pass the time.At the intersection of East Washington St. and Fifth St., the block begins on the south side with Ignition Music Garage. Ignition opened in 2012 and is locally owned and operated by Steve Martin.
“I wouldn’t have done it in any other location,” said Martin. “Ignition is a place where people can experience the full quality of sound of a professional musician as they want to be heard.”
Open Monday through Saturday, the store offers a wide selection of CDs and vinyl, as well as numerous live events per month. Of artists who have performed at Ignition, 40 percent have appeared on late night talk shows, all have performed at either Bonaroo or Lollapalooza music festivals.
“What’s drawing people to Goshen is occurring here on East Washington, including the Farmer’s Market, Goshen Brewing Company, The Brew, and Ignition,” stated Martin. “The businesses support each other; we’re all after the same thing, getting more traffic and drawing more people to downtown Goshen.”
Connected to Ignition by a door along the west wall of the store is the Electric Brew. The coffee shop opened on the northeast corner of Washington and Main St. in 1996, and then transitioned beside Ignition in 2013.
“The Electric Brew is more than just coffee; it’s about community, relationships, and interconnectedness; being a gathering place that’s intangible and impossible to replicate,” said Myron Bontrager, current owner of the shop. “Our role as the Brew is complementary, where each establishment is trying to find their own niche on the block. That way when I become stronger, they become stronger, and vice versa. It’s good for the community, it’s good for Goshen.”
The coffeehouse offers numerous drinks, including coffee, mochas, lattes, smoothies, and more. They have a variety of cookies and desserts, as well as soups, sandwiches, and salads for lunch during the workweek. The shop is open every day of the week, and features Internet access, seating for over 50 people, a corner for children to play in.
Next door from the Brew, separated only by a small alley, rests another drink-oriented store; this one aimed more at home beverage brewing. DIY Coffee and Ale Supply joined the block at 114 E. Washington St. in 2014, started up by Chris May and his wife, Mercy.
“It’s craft,” said May. “We’re about you being involved in the final outcome of what you’re drinking. It’s a hands-on method; you don’t have the liberty of pressing a button and walking away.”
The shop’s small size allows for a conversational atmosphere for coffee and beer aficionados and novices alike, and offers drinks (just coffee for now) for patrons. The store also hosts a home-brew club that meets once a month, and is often involved in First Friday activities.
The fifth of seven stops along E. Washington specializes on hair. L&M Hair Design resides on the southeast corner of E. Washington St. and Main St., and is open Monday through Saturday. The store began in 1991, making it the longest tenured store on the block.
“We are a family salon,” said Lisa Lehma n, owner of the business. “We cater to the client and their needs, to make everyone comfortable here.”
Beyond the basic haircut, L&M Hair Design offers plenty of other options. “We do facial waxing, perms, a lot of colors including dimensional and fun funky colors, and some formal styling as well,” said Lehman.
On the northeast corner of the intersection, we enter the world of soft pretzels. In 2013, JoJo’s Pretzels moved into 136 S. Main St., with a second entrance off of E. Washington St. The company began in Shipshewana, Indiana. Open Monday through Saturday, the shop offers a variety of pretzels and dips.
“I really like this location,” said Levi King, owner of JoJo’s Pretzels. “It’s busy with walking traffic, has parking on two sides, and has a great bump-out for outdoor seating.”
JoJo’s interacts in the community in a variety of ways. “We’re involved in First Fridays, and we use local artists to do our stuff, like our stain-glass window, or the booths and woodwork around the shop, or the coffee mugs and soup bowls from the pottery guild,” said King.
Wrapping up the community of stores along the E. Washington St. block, Rêverie nestles into the same building of JoJo’s, occupying the eastern portion. Rêverie is French for “daydream,” and the eclectic store offers a variety of yarns, gifts, and vintage pieces.
“We have knitter’s groups that come in and go across the street or next door for coffee or pretzels,” said store co-owner Linda Altenhof. “We have knitting classes as well as knit-alongs for knitted projects. Coming up in a few weeks we’re having a wine and wool event, where it’s actually wine drinking and arm knitting .”
Multiple of these store owners agree that “Goshen is a great place to be.”