Bright Ideas in Broad Ripple
Writer & Photgrapher / Stephanie Duncan
Chances are if you’ve lived in Broad Ripple for a while and walked north along the Monon Trail, you’ve probably seen the Bright Ideas in Broad Ripple building. Its big red awning with the Bright Ideas logo is hard to miss in the mostly residential neighborhood.
The CEO Beverly “Bev” Middaugh and her son wouldn’t have it any other way. This unique local business serves at least 1,000 suppliers with nearly 250,000 quality customizable products. With easy access from the Monon Trail and plenty of space with a huge showroom, they have all the perks of the pedestrian traffic of the Broad Ripple Strip from the trail but less traffic and more parking!
Before Bev had the bright idea (pun intended) to go into business for herself, she was a working single mom in her 40s, but her job was in the male-dominated field of sales. “I believe that as a single woman looking to support herself, sales is the best place to start,” Bev says. “You have more control and can write your own ticket.”
Bev learned the business behind custom printing, and with a friend, she started literally knocking on doors to spread the word. Soon, she had a team of people working with her. At the beginning, it was most of her friends, and some still work with Bright Ideas today! One the friends include Janet Craun who has been working with Bev for over 15 years!
Bev is truly a person devoted to the custom printing business and proud of how far it has come. She said that Bright Ideas can print on mostly anything and will work with you to make sure the logo works on the product. She also loves all the relationships she had built after 30 years of being in Broad Ripple. “I love that I get to see old friends who stop by that I haven’t seen in years!”
She also is heavily involved in local charities. “Everyone needs promotional materials!” she said. “We always give to the charities we serve, and this business is a way for me to do something good that I wouldn’t have been able to do normally.” One of the charities that Bright Ideas helps is the Catherine Peachy Fund, a Breast Cancer Research Fund. Bright Ideas helped put out a free cookbook to help honor that organization.
Not only were friends involved with helping Bev with Bright Ideas, but her family got involved too. Her son Matt Middaugh has been working at Bright Ideas for over 20 years and loves the local benefits of Bright Ideas. “When we first opened this location, the Monon wasn’t a trail yet!” he said, “so I think it’s gotten better over time because of the accessibility. There’s a walking presence, and people can find us easily. We have the Broad Ripple presence but with better parking!
So how does Bright Ideas compete with ever-present online companies? “You can’t touch fabric online!” Matt stressed. Bright Ideas sells everything from T-shirts, tote bags, pens, coffee mugs and other promotional accessories. “We can do everything that you can do online but with the added personal service,” Matt explained. “Most customers don’t need to come in, but in case they do, we are right there!”
Bright Ideas has the benefit where a customer can come in touch, feel and see the fabric or other products. Bright Ideas easily has one of the largest showrooms in the Midwest, which is set up like a retail store stocked with every product they can customize. It’s the most surprising feature of the small business building that really helps customers make smart, educated decisions. Everything is on site, even the warehouse that stores their entire product, so they can get out orders efficiently.
Matt and Bev are really proud of the Bright Ideas showroom. “It’s ever-changing,” Bev said. “We always are getting new product in.” So next time you’re walking down the Monon, stop inside Bright Ideas. There is a small team of people who want to share the world of custom printing to you! Bev will probably be in her office right by the door ready to greet you!