New and established Village businesses share the inspiration behind opening their doors

<p>Rustic Rebels Geode and Crystal Mine opened in October 2021 in the former location of ScreenBroidery, which moved a few doors down on West University Avenue last year. Along with other business updates in the Village this school year, there is construction at the old Two Cats Cafe location. <strong>Eli Houser, DN</strong></p>

Rustic Rebels Geode and Crystal Mine opened in October 2021 in the former location of ScreenBroidery, which moved a few doors down on West University Avenue last year. Along with other business updates in the Village this school year, there is construction at the old Two Cats Cafe location. Eli Houser, DN

The Village wasn’t always as lively as it is now. After the 2008 recession, many buildings sat vacant while landlords tried to find buyers. While some businesses, including Village Green Records and White Rabbit Used Books, survived 2008, the recession coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic saw some businesses move out of the Village and others move in. Jack’s Donuts and Rustic Rebels Geode and Crystal Mine are two businesses that just opened last semester, with ScreenBroidery also moving its location.

Jack’s Donuts

In early October, Jack’s Donuts opened its doors in the Village after the franchise announced it was moving into the former Subway in April 2021. The building was remodeled to include space for customers to sit and charge their laptops.

Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour helped cut the ribbon with store location owner April Simpson Oct. 5, 2021. Simpson said she is happy Jack’s Donuts made its return to Muncie after closing its former West White River Boulevard location.

“We want to make this [a] comfortable space to enjoy coffee or hang out with friends,” Simpson said. 

Simpson said the location has worked out an agreement with Ball State to accept Cardinal Cash from students as a form of payment. She also said different seasonal doughnuts will be available throughout the year, as well as special promotions.

Rustic Rebels Geode and Crystal Mine has a variety of gems and crystals for purchase in stones, jewelry and more. The shop also has mining buckets for customers to mine their own gemstones. Grace Bentkowski, DN

Rustic Rebels Geode and Crystal Mine

As one of the Village’s newest additions, Rustic Rebels Geode and Crystal Mine is a family-owned establishment looking to share an exciting experience with the community after gaining popularity through TikTok. 

“It’s fun for me,” owner Luke Helvey said. “I get to have all these rocks, sell all these rocks and buy a bunch more. It’s something me and the kids like doing.” 

The family business moved into the new location in October 2021 after working and creating videos in their garage, located off West Bethel Avenue, starting last March. Helvey said any Ball State student, faculty member or Muncie resident wanting to learn more about geocaching or crystal collecting can stop by the business.

“We have a unique business here, and we’re the best date spot,” Helvey said. “We’ve got mining buckets and sleuths so you can mine your own gemstones. The items you’ll get here, you’ll have for a long time.”

Luke Helvey, owner of Rustic Rebels Geode and Crystal Mine, said he likes running his business with his children — Bella Helvey, Oakley Helvey and Stone Maxwell Helvey. Before moving into the storefront, he made TikTok videos related to geocaching in his garage. Grace Bentkowski, DN


ScreenBroidery owner Steve Millben said he wanted to market printing services to Ball State students and staff who lived or worked on campus and did not have the ability to drive.

“We knew we wanted to do something with Ball State, and [the Village] seemed like the easiest place to reach Ball State students and faculty,” Millben said. 

Millben opened ScreenBroidery’s original storefront in 2015 in the Village. When the lease was up last year, Millben decided to move his company to the corner of University Avenue and Martin Street, just a few storefronts down, which he said has been a success.

“It’s always busy, and [we] always have something that people want, which is nice … we make things we think all students, faculty and alumni will want,” Millben said. 

Derek Edwards, owner of White Rabbit Used Books, has seen multiple business come and go from the Village. Edwards has operated White Rabbit Used Books for 31 years, making it one of the oldest locations in the Village. Grace Bentkowski, DN

White Rabbit Used Books

Derek Edwards, owner of White Rabbit Used Books, has been at his current location for 31 years. He remembers eyeballing the perfect spot for his book emporium in the ‘90s. 

“I was waiting for this building to be available because I really liked it,” Edwards said. “There was another business here at the time, so I had to just wait.” 

What was once just a collection of used books for sale on the first floor and balcony of the location is now the entire space. Edwards said the bookstore is completely full to the point that he has “no room for anything now.”

Edwards said he always gets requests for Kurt Vonnegut books, “The Catcher in the Rye” and more from students every year. 

“I’m happy to see people are reading more,” Edwards said. “It seems to be making a comeback.” 

Village Green Records (VGR) sits at the corner of North Martin Street and West Ashland Avenue. VGR used to host live music and other events before the COVID-19 pandemic, which owner Travis Harvey said he hopes to bring back when it is safe to do so. Eli Houser, DN

Village Green Records

As one of the oldest locations in the Village, Village Green Records (VGR) serves the local and regional community with its vinyl records and accessories.

Travis Harvey, VGR owner, said his clientele travel from around east central Indiana to his record shop. He added he hopes to host live events again in the future, which were postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Harvey said he enjoys running his business and sharing his love of vinyl with customers.

“The only way to make a lasting impression on people to either live or continue living in Muncie is by providing things that people I think are passionate about,” Harvey said. “You could call it a labor of love, but I would say that it's just being realistic and pragmatic and trying to provide something that will end up reaching a larger clientele.”

Contact Grace Bentkowski with comments at or on Twitter @gbentkowski. Contact Eli Houser with comments at


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