Writer / Lisa Mitchell
“You really can live as close to local as possible if you know where to look,” says Mel McMahon Stone, which is why she, along with her husband, Lance, created Indiana Originals, a network of Indiana-owned and founded businesses looking to serve Indiana residents. They hope to make it easy for Hoosiers to ensure their dollars benefit the local economy by providing a one-stop source for local products and service providers, rooted in their own communities.
Mel’s passion for all things local comes from her strong Indiana roots. Born and raised in Irvington, Mel attended college at Indiana University in Bloomington and has never had the desire to leave the state she loves.
“I love taking the road less traveled, literally,” Mel says. “I enjoy getting off the interstate, taking the back roads and seeing the small towns, businesses, and people that make Indiana such a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”
With more than 13 years in the Indianapolis radio and television scene, she has a strong history of supporting local businesses. Mel has worked both on air and as an account executive dedicated to helping local businesses.
Lance’s love of all things local runs deep, as well. He grew up on a farm in Warren County and has always worked with locally owned businesses. It wasn’t the large chains from whom he and his family shopped, but rather it was from their neighbors and those rooted in the local community. That way of doing business stuck with him, and now he’s more passionate than ever about drawing attention to the locally owned businesses in our own community.
Indiana Originals was launched in 2014 on a smaller scale, and then, for Mel, became a full-time business in 2015. Since it’s launch, locally owned businesses have been signing up at pace that has surprised both of them.
“It’s been great to see how eager businesses are to become an Indiana Originals member,” Mel says. “People are really behind what we are building, and it’s really exciting to see our community of local businesses grow so quickly.”
To become an Indiana Originals member, a business must be headquartered in Indiana and locally owned and operated. Direct sales or franchise businesses not headquartered in Indiana are not eligible for membership.
For eligible businesses, becoming a member is as easy as visiting indianaoriginals.com, clicking “Add My Business” and selecting the desired membership package.
Indiana Originals members enjoy a host of benefits including:
• Local Branding
• Listing in Indiana Originals’ online directory and the Indianan Originals App
• The use of the Indiana Originals membership logo to use anywhere to promote membership
• Invitations to Indiana Originals sponsored events
• Discounts to events hosted by Indiana Originals or member businesses
• Co-op advertising opportunities to help marketing dollars go further
• TV promotion features, including IndyStyle on WISH-TV 8 and FOX 59
• WIBC Features on 93.1 FM
• Access to a variety of consulting services including voiceover and commercial work, project management, accounting support, marketing, and much more.
Mel and Lance’s goal is to support Indiana Originals members by meeting their needs, whatever those needs might be, which is why they go beyond the website and app to help connect people to local businesses. They also host Indiana Originals expo and marketplace events to let residents meet local business owners and learn more about their services and products face-to-face.
Mel and Lance ultimately hope to make Indiana Originals into a lifestyle where consumers seek Indiana Originals members for all desired products and services. They hope to see the Indiana Originals directory and app become the first stop for finding everything local.
With an impressive list of members already in the directory, and more joining every day, they are well on their way to fulfilling that goal.