In an industry where most interior designers tend to be sought after for their own particular style, Jeff Sheats Design in Irvington is not your typical interior design firm. Specializing in residential interiors with an offshoot into an occasional light commercial spaces for his clients, owner Jeff Sheats and his staff strive to create a customer-centric service from material selection to construction management and full furnishing services.
“Our goal is to really tailor our work to each client,” says Sheats.
Sheats possess over 23 years of experience as an interior designer, starting his own practice after helping friends remodel and furnish their own home interiors in Indiana. Moving to Irvington in 1991, Sheats is known for his close eye for detail and the lengths he takes to get to know his clients’ preferences. He likes to compile lists of intricate data down to which hand his clients favor and their lifestyle habits in a survey he created called the “It’s You™ Survey.” His end goal is to best reflect his clients’ characters in their interior arrangements. He can take a client’s replies and translate those into a build out of a new home, remodeling and fully furnishing an existing home all while deploying his hand selected contractors and artisan installers.
To fit the wide range of styles people may fit into, Sheats is always on the hunt for new building and furnishing materials. He regularly attends design centers across the country shops globally for materials, accumulating a professional library full of samples filling half of his work studio in the Irvington Office Center.
Sheats is particularly happy with how the interior design business is evolving. Today’s clients are increasingly becoming better informed about home design and can better help him paint the picture and articulate what they desire for their dream home.
“My creative urge is to completely design around you,” he said.
While Sheats expects continued and controlled growth in business, he strongly favors the small boutique feel of his company and the personal service and attention he now provides his customers by being able to work with all of them directly. He is set to work both locally and throughout the US.
Serving the East Side community for over 50 years, Walker & Associates Insurance was founded in 1960 by the parents of present owner, Doug Walker Jr. His father, Doug Sr., worked full time as an IFD firefighter, and his Mom, Joanna, as a local realtor. Doug Sr. started the agency as a part-time job to supplement his income on days off as a firefighter. He sold auto insurance to firefighters, while Joanna would refer her clients for home coverage.
Doug Jr. came on board in 1978, and the agency continued to expand its personal lines book and grow into the commercial lines arena. The agency continued to grow, and is now a full service agency with a staff of 30 employees. Walker & Associates office is located on the corner of East Washington St. and Sadlier Dr., with another location in Carmel. Their agents offer a diverse range of coverage to individuals and the small to midsized business owner.
Agent Matt Wilhelm grew up in the Irvington neighborhood and is excited to see the revitalization of the business corridor. He has 12 years of experience in the Property & Casualty insurance arena, and works with business owners and individuals to review their current coverage, make recommendations, and quote with the array of national and regional insurance carriers they represent.
“It’s a great to have a job where I’m working with the local businesses and residents, as well as volunteering in the community,” said Wilhelm.
Due to the firm’s local ties, Walker & Associates takes a pointed interest in working for the community. The agency sponsors local charities such as the Autism Society of Indiana, Race for the Cure, and St. Mary’s Child Center on a yearly basis. Doug Walker also resides on the board of directors for the Ransburg YMCA.
Walker & Associates has experienced staff and represents A-rated insurance carriers. It offers excellent customer service and guarantees quick responses to inquiries and requests, follow up talks with clients, finding the most competitive premium, and assistance with any issues that the insured may have with their coverage.
“Diligence and customer service are what we are about,” said Wilhelm.
When Joe Hammond first began working for the Moore and Kirk Funeral Home when he was 13, he would have had trouble imagining himself running the home years later.
“I was just going through the neighborhood looking for lawns to mow and the Oakleys gave me my start.” He said.
Working in various positions at the home throughout high school, Hammond became increasingly involved with its operations. Attending mortuary school after graduating, he became licensed in 1986 and made a partner at the home soon after.
Oakley Hammond Funeral Home has community roots dating back to 1905 when the Fred Moore family began operating as AM Ragsdale and Co. Funeral Directors. The home passed along family lines, changing its name to Moore and Kirk and finally coming under the ownership of Bruce Oakley after his parents passed away in the early 2000s. The name finally was changed to Oakley Hammond to reflect the personal touch the two current owners strive to maintain in their business.
With its rustic, Victorian-style building constructed in the 1930s, Oakley Hammond was built to resemble an actual home with upstairs lodgings, a small chapel and space to hold viewings. The home takes pride in its traditional approach to funeral services. From visiting the place of death to legal filings, Joe Hammond makes sure that patrons receive the best possible attention during their time of need.
“We aren’t just a funeral service, we are a funeral home,” said Hammond.
Though Hammond has come a long way since his start at the home, some things have not changed. He still mows the grass.
While outwardly nondescript besides the unmistakable artistic rendition of a red steak on the windows comprising their logo, the interior of Lodge Design in Irvington is an eclectic mix of poster-lined dedicated office space, original interior decorating choices and entertainment. An old railroad wagon serves as a makeshift coffee table, two old arcade pinball machines stand in a corner, a stuffed mountain lion lies draped on a log overlooking the firm’s 9 employees as they go about their day.
“My buddy from high school went into taxidermy” Jarrett Hagy, co-owner of the firm said.
Lodge Design’s creative layout runs parallel to what it does; create. Employees mill about the various rooms and lounge in chairs while working off of their laptops or switch to a cubicle when they need to focus. They meet periodically during the day to brainstorm ideas.
A growing direct-to-consumer marketing and advertising business specializing in branding, radio, and TV ads, Lodge Design’s account portfolio includes some celebrated local businesses. Nicey in Broad Ripple, Huddles in Nora, Lutheran Health, Sun King, and a longstanding partnership with Conner Prairie to name a few.
Hagy and the rest of the firm have been part of the Irvington community for 16 years, residing in their current location for about ten. Hagy has always admired the residential diversity of his community even when they first opened in the neighborhood. Many of his employees live here. They have seen their share of businesses come and go in the Irvington community, but believe the town is going somewhere new now.
“Irvington has transformed into a destination, our clients almost never met with us in our offices back in the day. Now they want to come here and get lunch.” Hagy said.
The company wishes to keep on expanding their footprint throughout Indiana and believes they have the ability to do so.
“We’re a small design firm that strives to do the best work in the country.” Hagy said.
Residing in a small corner office just off of Washington Street, Irvington Insurance Agency owner Eric Wilson often leaves the lights off, preferring to bathe the room in the ample natural lighting provided by the large windows that make up most of the street-side wall.
A lifelong Irvington resident, Wilson began his agency in 2007 after leaving American Family Insurance,
“I wanted to be able to be my own boss and offer my clients the most coverage options possible,” he says.
Irvington Insurance provides property, casualty, life, and small-commercial insurance to those in the area.
Selling common insurance packages like these, Wilson receives customers of all ages and walks of life, though he believes the main trait they have in common is that they are nice people.
“After all they’re buying insurance right?” He says.
Having grown up in Irvington, working in the town seemed like a natural choice for Wilson who returned to the area after joining the military and a brief stint in Philadelphia.
“I can’t really imagine living anywhere else,” he laughs, “Irvington has always been my home, I love the diversity of the people here and it just keeps becoming a better place.”
Wilson is currently working towards expanding his staff and plans to remain in the community for the long haul.
“I’m gonna do this forever, I’m probably going to die here at this desk.” He grins.
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