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Community Cares Spotlight Blog #5 - A Taste of Indiana

Date: 5.29.20

This week we spoke with Mark Kolbus, Co-owner of A Taste of Indiana.

A Taste of Indiana is a locally-owned, family-run business. We love being able to offer over 170 products made in Indiana, which celebrate our great state. Our products are well-made and of the highest quality, demonstrating the pride that Hoosiers take in the state of Indiana and in their own workmanship.

Written by Braden Worrell

How did you and IBCF first meet?

One day Laura Alvarado came into our store to put together several of our gift baskets for their upcoming Gala event. When I found out she was with the Indiana Blind Children’s Foundation, I immediately had a soft spot for the Foundation and the kids at the School. My late grandfather-in-law went blind later in life and was just the sweetest person and super nice to me. Occasionally at a get-together, I’d see him sitting by himself because others didn’t know how exactly to engage with a person with a visual impairment. I’d go and sit with him and talk about anything, fishing or golf, etc. You realize when you start talking to someone who is blind that they just want to be treated like a sighted person. He was a great man so I was happy to get involved with the Foundation.

What has your relationship with IBCF looked like since you met?

We moved here in the fall of 2017, so we've been helping out IBCF for about 3 years now. We’re all about creating beautiful gift baskets full of local foods and products.

It’s a fun experience putting together all the baskets. Laura and her volunteers will come into the store where we have these long assembly tables to organize all the basket items, food products, and decorations. We build each basket from the ground up and assemble them so you can see every product facing out towards the front, they look great. People really like to see the baskets “all dolled up” as we say and they make great gifts and fundraiser auction items for the Gala.

We’ve made baskets for two of the IBCF Galas now and most recently for the 2020 ISBVI graduating seniors who didn’t get a graduation ceremony because of COVID-19. We wanted to make these baskets extra special with crinkle, bows and ribbons and customized for each student. One basket had a lot of macaroni and cheese, I think someone is really going to enjoy that. To all the 2020 ISBVI graduating seniors: “Enjoy your baskets and good luck in all your future endeavors!”

IBCF turns around and helps us out during Christmas which is our busiest season by far. A few of the volunteers and IBCF Board and staff will come over to the shipping department and help us fulfill orders as a “thank you” for supporting the Blind School. We get a lot of interest in our baskets after the Gala event. People will call and say, “I saw one of your baskets at the Gala”. It always ends up bringing us more business, so it’s a great relationship.