In the storefront windows for both locations of Silver in the City, the gift and jewelry boutiques located in Carmel and Indianapolis, blue stickers with a red and white cartoon storefront denote that, “This Business Serves Everyone.”
For Kristin Kohn, who opened Silver in the City in 2000, it’s always been important to communicate that all are welcome in her stores. “We were always a warm, inviting place for people to come – our store was one where people could come and be themselves. That was at the heart of our business and where we were in the community, and it applies to everyone who walks through our doors,” Kristin said. She specifically mentioned gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender customers, noting that one of the reasons she displays the Open for Service sticker is to note that “This is who we’ve been for fifteen years, and this is who we’ll continue to be” – a store that welcomes everyone.
Kristin knows that it’s critical for Indiana to send the message that all are welcomed in the state – and she knows there’s no better way to do that than by prohibiting discrimination against any Hoosier or visitor to our state. That’s why she’s proud to be a part of Indiana Competes, the coalition of businesses that supports prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people.
It’s not just that it’s the right thing to do – Kristin said.It’s also good for the local economy.
“It’s important that people looking at jobs in Indiana and looking to relocate feel that Indiana is a forward-thinking state,” she said. “People’s impression of people in Indiana as a whole affects their impression of Indianapolis.” She explained her concerns especially for larger employers in the city.
“Our neighborhoods are full of employees from our city’s biggest companies and they are actively involved within the communities in which they live and work” she said, referencing some of the state’s fastest growing employers. “We want them to be able to attract talented people interested in becoming part of our community. When people hear about an opportunity in Indiana, we want their first impression to be, ‘Yeah! Definitely. It’s a vibrant, modern city.’ We need people to have a good impression of Indiana when they’re thinking of relocating or staying in Indianapolis.”
A key part of creating that impression, she said, is passing a comprehensive anti-discrimination law.
“I can’t think of one good reason not to support this,” Kristin said. “It hurts no one to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT people – and doing so really protects people and helps them.”
Kristin, who graduated from Purdue University and has been a proud Hoosier for 18 years, has increasingly noticed how much pride people have for Indiana; some of the most popular items sold in Silver in the City are necklaces, bracelets, T-shirts, bottle openers, and other merchandise highlighting Indiana’s silhouette and state outline.
“People are feeling a lot of city pride and affinity for their state – and I hope that if we can move forward and protect all people from discrimination, that will strengthen their appreciation for our state even more,” Kristin said. “I’m excited to be here and be a part of making that change to help Indiana become a state we can be even more proud of.”