Since first breaking out onto the scene in 2016 with their HGTV renovation series, Good Bones stars and mother-daughter duo, Mina Starsiak-Hawk and Karen Laine have built their brand, Two Chicks and a Hammer around numerous housing rehab projects in and around the southeast downtown Indianapolis region. But with the show now in its fifth season at the network, Starsiak-Hawk is expanding outside the series with her younger sister, Kelsy Gray and their Two Chicks and a Hammer team with their very own retail space, combining a store with a quaint bistro in the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood called Two Chicks District Co.
Gray, who is also the company's Chief Business Officer and lead on the project, is helping spotlight the city in a positively vibrant way with its 1,224-square-foot retail shop, dominating nearly half the space with home décor items featured on the current season of Good Bones and a snazzy 600-square-foot upfront bistro. In an exclusive with PopCulture.com ahead of the store's grand opening on Saturday, June 20, Starsiak-Hawk and Gray get candid about their stellar new endeavor, which offers a wide selection of items like kitchenware, pillows, bedding and frames. Items will also notably change twice a year to stay current with the beloved television series.
"We are so excited because we've been wanting to do this for about four years," Starsiak-Hawk told PopCulture before adding how she hired her sister, Gray, specifically to move this project forward. "June 20th is going to be our opening, and we have so much fun stuff. We want it to be where you can come in, and anyone can leave with something. We've got furniture, side tables, occasional chairs, rugs, toiletries, and bedding, but also really cool, candlesticks and vases, jewelry, and funny socks."
The 35-year-old also adds how perfect it is that everything came together and admits she is incredibly proud of the "growth of the company" blossoming since the show's inception more than four years ago. "It's just been really cool to see what the company has turned into," she said.
Gray echoes her sister's sentiment, telling PopCulture how the entire idea originated from a vision board her older sibling shared with their Chief Operating Officer, Alexa Howell. "One of the most common questions we get from our fans is where did you get [this]? So, it just made sense that we create a space where fans, guests and neighbors could come and shop the items that they [and we] love," Gray said. "We would have opened a lot sooner, but you know... life. We had to find the funding and time because the core business Two Chicks and a Hammer keeps us all pretty busy."
With the brand rooted deeply in accentuating Indy culture while offering a vibrant space, which includes an artsy bistro, a storefront, and hot spot that serves as a venue for monthly events showcasing citywide talent, Gray adds how it was essential to integrate community with the extension.
"We partnered very closely with the Bates Hendricks Neighborhood Association when planning for this space," the 28-year-old Indianapolis native said. "They have a committee dedicated to East Street Quality of Life, and one of their goals was to have a commercial corridor. So, we were really happy that our space fit into that plan. We want District Co. to be a space where neighbors come after work to unwind with a beverage and just say 'Hi.' We want our out of town guests to feel as comfortable as the neighbors who know us by name. This is a place for everyone, so having the community support District Co. is integral to its success."prevnext
While she announced her retirement from the business — not the show — in September of 2019, Karen Laine, also lovingly known as "Mamma chick," tells PopCulture she is incredibly proud of her daughters' determination and get-go attitude to get District Co. up and running.
"[Kelsy] is our chief business officer and she needs to get a world of credit for how long and hard she's worked because although Mina is the boss, Kelsy's the one who makes the things happen," Laine said. "Working with Kelsey is a delight. She has all the human relationship skills in the world, and she and I are really good at, 'This is business' [versus] 'This is personal.'"
The former lawyer and mom goes on to share how while "Mina's a little tougher because she's definitely a boss woman," she is very proud of how her daughter turned out to be a fierce businesswoman through their time together on the HGTV series. "I raised a very strong, independent, free-thinking person, for which I'm really grateful, and sometimes, sorry," she laughs. "Because she knows she's allowed to have an opinion, she's always had an opinion, and she's as strong-minded or stronger than I am, so it makes me bring my A-game. It makes me creative and thoughtful and patient, and yielding because sometimes she's just right."prevnext
Two Chicks District Co. is a chic, charming name for a retail store unique to a burgeoning downtown, but its handle is also an extension of their brand's distinctive name, Two Chicks and a Hammer — something Laine shares her daughter, Starsiak-Hawk initially came up with during the first season of their show. "After we had done our second or third house, we were sitting across the desk from each other because we operated our rehab business, which wasn't a business yet, it was more a hobby, out of my law office and she said, 'I think we have a business and it needs a name. We need to buy checks and get hoodies.' That was her idea. We threw a bunch of ideas around and she came up with that, and there were no more ideas necessary because it pretty much sums us up."
Gray adds how Two Chicks is a family of companies, with Two Chicks and a Hammer setting up the roots for what would be more enterprising endeavors helping to drive the city and its blossoming neighborhoods to new depths and heights. "Two Chicks and a Hammer is how we started, but now we have added Two Chicks District Co., and soon we will be adding Two Chicks Homes, and Two Chicks Gives Back," Gray said.
With funding being the team's biggest challenge as far as the build was concerned, Gray adds how it's been a whirlwind throughout these past six seasons. "We usually start a new season before we have even finished the last, so to be able to find funds outside our core business was really a challenge. We finally found a bank that would support a commercial loan for the space," Gray said, revealing how the business model requires the team to come up with significant funds upfront to rehab 13 houses at a time as banks won't typically offer loans because of the risky projects and won't appraise to support loan values.prevnext
With the store opening on June 20 and in a place the team has been "happy to lay roots down" in, Gray and Laine share with PopCulture some of the best items to buy from their store, located at 1531 S East St., Indianapolis, Indiana, even though it's been hard to pick just one.
"I really love it all, but I would say on the must-own list for summer would be our mango wood server wear, some fun barware for cocktail parties, and then one of our beautiful vases for all your fresh floral moments," Gray said, adding how her sister's list would probably look a little different than hers since she's expecting her second-born later this year. "[Mina] has talked a lot about our backpack cooler we have, and then we are actually carrying some of the rugs that were used in her 'Forever Home' special and that she is using in the new nursery!"
With Laine kicking back and enjoying retirement from the company while her daughters and their team dive headfirst into a ton of projects to expand the brand, she says it's "not simple" to narrow down must-haves from District Co. "Some people have enough pillows; they really don't need any more pillows. They should stop," she laughed. "And yes, I bought a pillow, which, there's no explanation for that. If you don't have it in your home, you need a good smell. District Co has lots of options for good smells. I'm a vanilla girl. They have an amazing vanilla. They actually have their own signature scent, which is fantastic. I love it. I got one of those, too. So, I think everybody needs a smell."prevnext
The 57-year-old also adds how barware is an essential addition to anyone's home, especially for the summer. "It doesn't have to be a lot, and it doesn't have to be super fancy, but if company comes over, you should have something nice to serve them," she said. "Even the water. Just something nice to serve them in. If you don't have any nice glasses, you should get a couple of nice glasses."
Finally, Laine admits a touch of florals does wonders for one's home. "There's just something about flowers, and there are a bunch of different vases that make flower arranging super easy," she said. "There are five or six vases all together, you put a bud in each one, you're good to go."
Sharing how District Co. has a two-way liquor license, customers and fans of the show can enjoy both beer and wine, which will be rotated throughout the seasons and feature a local brewery. "This month it's a beer brewery and then there's a bunch of wine options. I've tried most of them. They're very good," she laughed.
With the store coming to its fruition this weekend, Laine says it will be an excellent addition to the city and something everyone can enjoy together. "The greatest compliment anybody could give is, 'Oh, this feels like home,' because what we want is for people to walk in and touch things, and smell things, and feel at home, that's the goal and I think they nailed it. I really do."
Two Chicks District Co. is located at 1531 S East St. in Indianapolis, Indiana, and opens June 20. Their regular store hours are noted as Thursdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. For more information on the store and to plan your visit, check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Good Bones airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on HGTV and keep it locked to PopCulture.com for more with the savvy designers and a ton of your favorites!prev