Opening of Eli's, Starbucks seen as only the beginning

Friday, September 28, 2012
Declaring Eli's Books open for business, DePauw President Brian Casey gives a loud cheer following a ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon with Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray. The opening of DePauw's downtown bookstore and the adjoining Starbucks coffee shop is the first completed project of the city's Stellar Communities grant.

Greencastle and DePauw University officials celebrated more than just the long-awaited opening of a new university bookstore on a corner of the courthouse square Thursday afternoon.

They celebrated the pleasure, passion and potential of partnerships.

Partnership of town and gown. Partnership of city and state. Public and private partnership.

As in Greencastle and DePauw. Or DePauw and Follett & Co. And DePauw and Starbucks.

As first DPU President Brian Casey, and then Mayor Sue Murray addressed a gathering in the Eli's Books portion of the building that once housed the elegant local department store Prevo's, the adjoining room bustled with activity.

"Today is about celebrating partnership as we set out to build the next great college town in America," Casey said as the line for Starbucks coffees and specialty drinks stretched from the counter to the front door while opening ceremonies transpired. "This is an important milestone in Greencastle's Stellar Communities Initiative."

"This is indeed a partnership, and our partners continue to grow," Mayor Murray said after the group reassembled inside following a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony on the Washington Street sidewalk in front of Eli's Books.

Agreeing with that assessment was David Terrell, chief of staff to Becky Skillman, Indiana lieutenant governor who was unable to attend the ceremony due to the death of a close friend.

"The reason we are so excited to be here," Terrell said of the Stellar Communities Initiative that helped make the bookstore and other development possible, "is this represents a partnership between three state agencies, and that's very unusual."

President Casey said moving the university bookstore downtown was an idea he first discussed with Mayor Murray when he interviewed for the DePauw position in 2008.

She remembered that as well. "And today we're celebrating four years of dreaming and hard work," the mayor said.

Some 50,000 people visit the DePauw campus every year, Casey noted, and a great majority find their way to the bookstore to purchase DePauw-related items, gifts and memorabilia as well as books.

Developing Eli's Books and the adjacent Starbucks downtown is DePauw "putting a stake in the ground," Casey said, to assure those visitors not only share in the DePauw experience, but the Greencastle experience as well.

Those words were music to Mayor Murray's ears.

"This is a fantastic anchor for our downtown," she praised.

"We had a lot of renderings, had a lot of dreams and had a lot of discussions," the mayor added, indicating when developers came in she hoped they could share the dream of what the building could eventually look like.

"And it's even more amazing than we imagined," Murray said.

"What a wonderful celebration and a wonderful day for our community," she added in celebration of the first of the city's Stellar Community Grant projects coming to fruition.

"I'm looking forward to many more ribbon-cuttings and special occasions," the mayor concluded.

Many, many people deserve thanks for the vision, the work and the execution, DPU's Casey assured.

He specifically named John Kite and Tom McGowan of Kite Realty Group, developers of the bookstore project, as "keeping the bar set high."

Casey had further praise for the Starbucks people, who he said, "just kept making this project better and better."

And he took time to especially thank the local businesses impacted by the ongoing work at Washington and Indiana streets the past several months.

"Local businesses had to put up with a messy, messy, messy situation for a few months, and we're sorry for that," Casey said.

"There is so much to celebrate," he concluded. "I agree with the mayor. This is just the first of lots and lots of ribbon-cuttings to come."

Incidentally, Eli's Books was named in honor of Eli Lily, who has a historical connection with both Greencastle and DePauw, and whose first drugstore was on the opposite corner of Indiana and Washington streets, where the Downtown Deli now operates.

View 8 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • So when will the new "Welcome to Depauw-castle" signs be going up? The claws sink in further to the local government, er, community.

    -- Posted by stranded67 on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 8:09 PM
  • I have been to this place twice already and it is great. I generally avoid Starbucks when I am out, but it has already become a really great place for meeting and discussion. The large front windows are really welcoming and warm. I saw a lot of people from the University (especially students and their parents) and just people from the community coming in to check it out. As someone who is not directly affiliated with the University, I can only see this as another great thing for this city and the square. I am really looking forward to seeing what else takes shape in the future.

    -- Posted by AlexanderAlexander on Sat, Sep 29, 2012, at 4:21 PM

    -- Posted by lhmh on Sat, Sep 29, 2012, at 10:00 PM
  • Been to the Starbucks several times, and am loving this new addition to our town!

    -- Posted by thinkpositive on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 6:28 AM
  • Greencastle needs to realize they are more than DePauw. DePauw is a nice addition but not all that Greencastle could offer. Have them pay taxes on all the houses they bought and turned into student housing - the city lost revenue on that one.

    -- Posted by bc1234 on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 10:36 AM
  • I know when I first moved here I was stunned...a college town without a coffee house? A friend had given me a starbucks gift card as part of a moving day gift, and I was surprised to find the nearest starbucks was in avon...and little further research sent me into hysterical laughter as I found out the founder and ceo of starbucks was....a DePauw graduate. Just sort of made me think he wasn't to fond of his time here, maybe he's had a change of heart.

    I'm hoping the bookstore sells books other than just what the uni calls for, we need someplace around here where we can buy something other than the bodice rippers that walmart sells.

    -- Posted by Heron on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 12:58 PM
  • Checked out El's with a friend the day after it opened for cappuccino and chat! Wonderful addition to our city!

    -- Posted by Carla Hurst-Chandler on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 7:22 AM
  • DePauw, its students and faculty are a blessing to this town. Yes, there are always a few bad apples in any bunch--the ones who deride our small town, and have an entitled air about them, but the university as a whole has done a great deal to help the community, and especially its schools. Let's be grateful we have such a willing partner, and quit griping about them. They also happen to employ many people who live here 365 days a year.

    -- Posted by Moretothestory on Sun, Oct 7, 2012, at 9:24 PM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: