Historical society hosting reception for former Ayres employees

Years after closing its doors, Indiana’s premier department store, L.S. Ayres and Co. still holds a special place in the hearts of many Hoosiers.

This week, the Indiana Historical Society is hosting a special reception for former Ayres employees where old friends to reconnect and celebrate their shared retail history.

Friday, the Indiana Historical Society is conducting an Ayres Appreciation Day at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., IHS is offering free admission to anyone who worked for the department stores or the Ayr-Way discount stores.

Event highlights include a conversation corner where former Ayres employees can catch up over a cup of coffee and access to the IHS exhibition “You Are There: That Ayres Look.” The exhibition features costumed actors portraying real-life individuals from the company’s past.

Another popular aspect of the exhibit’s displays is the Ayres cherub, on view for the first time outside of the holiday season. The cherub is on loan from Downtown Indy and will stay at the History Center until the exhibition closes Aug. 6.

Just one floor down from the exhibition, guests can purchase a traditional chicken velvet soup for lunch in the History Center’s Stardust Terrace Café. The special menu item is a nod to the L.S. Ayres Tea Room, which closed in Indianapolis in 1990.

Finally, former Ayres employees will receive a store-wide discount at the History Center’s Basile History Market. The store sells several Ayres-related items including diamond boxes, coin purses and the IHS Press book “L.S. Ayres & Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America,” by Kenneth L. Turchi.

L.S. Ayres opened a store in Greenwood from the mid-1960s until the early 2000s, after Federated Department Stores acquired the company that owned Ayres. The building at the Greenwood Park Mall where the store was located was demolished several years ago during a mall renovation and expansion.

Information: 317-232-1882; indianahistory.org.