Schools have mascots.
Teams have mascots.
So why can't a shopping center have a mascot, too?
That is what John Becker thought when he decided to permanently
install a 9-foot-tall cast aluminum statue at the entrance of his
Mishawaka shopping complex.
Customers cannot miss the larger-than-life depiction of a cowboy
riding a horse towering above them when they enter Town & Country
Shopping Centre from McKinley Avenue.
The statue, which rests atop a 5-foot-tall concrete base, has become
quite a talking point, especially since there is no plaque describing
where it came from.
Or why it is there.
Shoppers waiting in line to exit the center, and diners across the
street in the Tradewinds parking lot, point to or stare quizzically at
the horse and rider. Angie Meyer, of Mishawaka, is among those
"I drive by there everyday on my way to work and it happened to catch
my eye," she says. "It is an eye-catcher and different. And it does
have a country look to it."
Amy McGuire, of South Bend, thinks it's "a very odd addition" to a
great shopping center that needs updating.
"I don't know if new sculptures are what is needed, however, to
restore or update Town & Country to its former self -- better
storefronts, lighting or signage for example," she says. "My kids
think the horse and cowboy are pretty cool though."
Hearing the reaction makes the normally reserved Becker chuckle and
talk quite openly about his unique western find.
"Most people don't realize this is the same horse they've probably
seen on their way down to Indy, at a business north of Grissom Air
Force Base," says Becker. "I've seen him out there for the past year
But it wasn't until a few months ago that something dawned on Becker:
Why not buy the cowboy and prominently display him near the center's
main reader board?
"I thought it might look good here and work well with the Town &
Country theme: We see all kinds of people here, whether they are from the city or from the country," Becker explains.
And who knows, maybe the western-themed statue will lure a
western-themed tenant to the center.
Hauling the cowboy and horse home, however, proved a bit of a problem.
The statue wouldn't fit under the bridges in the first truck he took
down, so Becker had to find a lower truck bed.
Then there was a matter of positioning it on the site.
"I thought that would be the ideal spot by the big sign. He's most
prominent there," Becker says. "We had to pour the concrete base
first, and got it out there last week. The response so far has been
very positive. But we haven't named them yet."
So why don't we try.
Post your ideas for a name for the cowboy and his horse on our
Facebook page, or e-mail me at email@example.com and we will pass
the ideas along to Becker -- and post some of the most popular or
unique ideas in an upcoming column.
Have you heard?
Zumba Fitness is planning a location at 307 Florence Ave., Mishawaka,
at Toscana Park. The fitness center plans to renovate about 2,630
square feet of existing space, according to a state construction
report. ... Look for a few scoops -- including a national retailer
planning a new area women's accessories store -- and updates about
several planned new area stores and restaurants in Sunday's column. ...
And join us for our next live chat at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. The topic
will be one that arises quite often during our chats: availability of
parking in downtown South Bend.
Heidi Prescott's column runs in the South Bend Tribune on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. When she's not shopping, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-235-6070. You can also talk retail at Facebook.com/thebasket and at Twitter.com/marketbasket.