Lapel family investing in community

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LAPEL — On the main street of Lapel sits a historic, all brick building that was home to the original Lapel Post Office. Built in 1899, it holds a lot of this small town’s history and sits right next to the railroad that splits the town in half. Here, now stands The Lodge on Main, a space that was purchased and renovated by the Evelo family.

After meeting at Indiana State University, Derek and Stephanie Evelo got hitched and started their lives together. After living in Fishers for 21 years, the Evelos decided to head back to Stephanie’s hometown of Lapel. With family and church ties there, the Evelos wanted to raise their three boys with small town roots. The slow pace and small town feel is what they love.

“When you come back (to Lapel) everything just slows down and that is what more and more people are going to look for as time goes on,” Derek said.

The couple has owned rental properties since 1997 and both work in real estate. Along with real estate, the pair serves on many volunteer groups around town such as the town’s food pantry, their church groups and starting Facebook parent pages to create community.

In 2020, the Evelos bought The Lodge with a vision in mind: to create an affordable place to host community events and meetings. The space was renovated and now hosts two rooms and a commercial kitchen that are available for rent.

“We wanted it to be a blessing to the community,” Stephanie said.

Parties and showers are their most popular events but it doesn’t stop with hosting. The Lodge is also a space for business owners to operate which has benefitted caterer Esther Woschitz.

Woschitz is the business owner of Essential Desserts and Food Company and uses The Lodge’s commercial kitchen to run her business. She also is an onsite caterer for events held at The Lodge.

“It has helped me get some business when people book an event there,” said Woschitz. After finding each other on Facebook, Stephanie Evelo and Woschitz hit it off and became business partners.

The Evelos have also invested in another property which is in the process of being renovated in Lapel. The building is an old church that they are planning to transform into an AirBnB that sleeps 12 to 14 people. Stephanie Evelo even took to social media, asking the public what they would look for in a space like this one. This post received more than 30 comments with helpful suggestions from the community.

The Evelos believe investing in one’s community is something that should be encouraged and is part of the Evelo family’s mission for Lapel.

“I want to leave my community better than what it was,” Derek Evelo said. 

The Lodge on Main is online at https://www.thelodgeonmainlapel.com/ along with their social media pages @thelodgeonmainlapel.

Sydney Rusche is a senior from Lapel, Indiana, majoring in public relations. Sydney is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, a student-run public relations agency at Anderson University.