NWI Business Ins and Outs: Dairy Belle, Happiness is Pets, Agave Mansion and Kali Beauty open; Marco's Pizza closes – The Times of Northwest Indiana

That’s what the sign says in big letters in the storefront of the new Happiness is Pets in Schererville.
The pet store has “provided healthy, happy puppies to the Chicago area since 1987.” Happiness is Pets opened its latest location at 1525 U.S. 41 in the Crossroads Shopping Center anchored by Strack & Van Til and Walmart.
The family-owned chain offers puppies in a number of breeds, including beagle, bichon frise, boxer, Chihuahua, cocker spaniel, dachshund, French bulldog, German shepherd, golden retriever, goldendoodle, Jack Russell terrier, Pomeranian, yellow labrador and Yorkshire terrier. Several puppies are available on-site at the store at any given time.
It also carries pet food, treats, toys, carriers, beds and other supplies.
Happiness is Pets now has five Chicagoland stores, including in Orland Park, Arlington Heights, Lombard, and Aurora. It’s now hiring “puppy care specialists” in Schererville.
For more information, call 219-865-3078 or visit www.happinessispets.com.
Dairy Belle set an opening date for its long-awaited store in Dyer.
The beloved local ice cream shop chain, which long has been an institution in Hammond, will open its fifth Northwest Indiana location at 1387 Joliet St, next to Pop’s. It will open for business in Dyer at 11 a.m. Monday.
The new ice cream store on U.S. 30 in Dyer will have a drive-through, indoor dining and an outside patio. Unlike some other seasonal Dairy Belle locations, it will be open year-round.
Founded in Hammond in 1950, Dairy Belle built a new 1,800-square-foot building at its latest location, just three miles west of its store on U.S. 30 in Schererville. It also has locations in Hammond, Crown Point and Cedar Lake.
Dairy Belle serves soft serve ice cream, the Dole Whip pineapple that’s served at Disney theme parks, sundaes, shakes, malts, flurries and build-your-own banana splits. It has flavors of the month and seasonal specials like pumpkin ice cream it just rolled out.
Kali Beauty continues to grow in Northwest Indiana.
The beauty shop and hair care chain will take over the former Napa Auto Parts store at 3700 W. 80th St. in Merrillville, near Aladdin Pita on a frontage road parallel to U.S. 30, said Diversified Commercial Real Estate Broker Dennis Larson, who brokered the deal. 
Kali Beauty will occupy the entire 6,500-square-foot building, including the lower level that was long occupied by the Park Avenue Brides bridal shop.
It will be the chain’s fourth location after Hammond, Lansing and Schererville. It sells salon tools, barber tools, curling irons, hair styling products, extensions, dyes and many leading brands.
“It’s a good-sized building,” Larson said. “They will use the top floor for retail and have a lot of supplies.”
The new store will be less than six miles from the Kali Beauty by Planet Fitness of U.S. 41 in Schererville.
“They were looking at this market because it fits perfectly with their footprint,” Larson said. “They wanted to be out of U.S. 30 because of the traffic pattern.”
For more information, visit kalibeauty.com.
Agave Mansion will soon bring Oaxacan fare to a historic building in Michigan City.
The Mexican restaurant and nightlife spot took over the space at 110 W. 9th Street that was previously home to the Stony Gardens restaurant that cooked “turkey redefined” and The Black-Eyed P eatery that served up southern, Caribbean and Creole fusion.
Agave Mansion plans to offer tacos, tequila and live music. It’s looking to open in about a week.
It occupies a brick Federal-style building with a distinctive cupola that was constructed in 1900 and was most recently home to The Bride Church. It’s done extensive renovations to the interior this year.
For more information, find Agave Mansion on Facebook or Instagram.
Marco’s Pizza has closed after just a few years in Crown Point.
The pizzeria at 146 E. 109th Ave. in the Beacon Hill development was closed with all the furniture removed from the dining room and equipment from the kitchen.
Marco’s Pizza has other locations across Northwest Indiana, including in the buildings it used to share with the now-defunct Family Video chain. It’s still serving up slices in Highland, Hobart, Homewood and LaPorte.
The Toledo-based chain is the seventh-largest in the country with more than 900 locations. It was founded by Italian immigrant Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco in 1978 and brags that it’s the “only national pizza chain founded by a native Italian.”
The Crown Point location offered dine-in and delivery. It opened in August of 2019 and did not have much time to build a customer base before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
The Spice & Tea Exchange will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 11.
The tea shop and culinary store at 161 Lincolnway in downtown Valparaiso is planning a weekend-long grand opening that includes a 20% discount for veterans with ID on Nov. 11. The first 25 customers each day that weekend get a free one-ounce tea.
A buy five, get the sixth free will be offered on all consumables that weekend, while customers can get buy one, get one free 16-ounce iced or hot teas from the tea bar 3-5 p.m. on Nov. 12 and 13.
Valparaiso native Tina St. Aubin started the business, which sells teas, spices, seasonings and specialty salts and sugars. 
“Being born and raised here in Valparaiso, it is truly rewarding to give back to my community through the opening of The Spice & Tea Exchange,” she said. “The majority of my family are business owners so it was only right that I joined the list. I’m also thankful that my mom and sons have been a part of the process — I find it so special that we have three generations in the store on some days.”
The store products are sourced from around the globe and include many exotic varieties. It offers 85 custom blends of spices that are hand-mixed “for beginners and five-star chefs alike.” It offers more than 45 loose-leaf teas, more than 150 spices by the jar, kitchen accessories, recipe kits and gift boxes.
The Spice & Tea Exchange also has a tea bar that serves both hot and cold teas. It’s the first Northwest Indiana franchise of the national brand that was founded in 2008 and has more than 80 stores across the United States.
“I’ve worked to not only build a new team, but a family who loves The Spice & Tea Exchange brand as much as I do. We are all so proud to be able to bring something to the community that will not only share our passion for food, but also enhance the lives of our guests,” St. Aubin said. “One of the first products I tried during my initial visit to The Spice & Tea Exchange was Vik’s Garlic Fix Spice Blend. But I also like to recommend Honeybee Ginger Elixir Tea, Black Truffle Garlic Seasoning and Backwoods Hickory Rub to members of my community who are looking to try something new.”
The Spice & Tea Exchange is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. 
For more information, visit www.spiceandtea.com/valparaiso or call 219-615-3162. 
If you would like your business to be included in a future column, email joseph.pete@nwi.com.  
NWI Business Ins and Outs: Santa Fe Restaurant & Bar, Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill and Zorro’s Mediterranean Fusion  open; Filipino restau…
Business Reporter
Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.
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