Bovaconti - a History as Rich as its Coffee

If you’ve enjoyed a beverage from the popular Fountain Square destination Bovaconti Coffee, you know the building has history. But do you know the history?

The building that now stands at 1042 Virginia Avenue was built in 1909 by the Fountain Square State Bank, which conducted business there until 1923, when it moved across the street to 1059 Virginia Avenue, the (most recently) former location of PNC Bank. Before the building was erected, the location had been a private residence built around 1870. 

Shortly after the bank’s relocation, according to the Polk’s City Directory, James Zakouras opened a shoe repair store. By 1940, Mr. Zakouras partnered with Michael Spanos to form Spanos and Zakouras Shoe Repair. In 1932, the store was robbed and the thief escaped with $275. Spanos and Zakouras Shoe Repair adjusted the fit and replaced heels for Fountain Square footwear until 1946. Based on records, other businesses may have shared the location for a short period of time – Indianapolis Star and News was reportedly located there in 1951 and a few other businesses were listed at 1042 Virginia Avenue around the same time. 

In 1946, Pedigo Jewelers, located at 1042 Virginia Avenue as many long time Fountain Square residents might remember, began its tenure in the location. And what a tenure. Pedigo Jewelers was started by Lawrence G. Pedigo and his wife, Ava, and was one of the finest jewelers in the city. Its advertisements graced the pages of the Indianapolis Star and News on many occasions, touting superior service, “easy terms” and an impressive watch collection. Lawrence’s son, David, took over the business sometime after 1980. Tragedy struck on April 9, 2010, when David was killed during a robbery. Pedigo Jewelers closed its doors after David’s murder. 

Shortly thereafter, Bovaconti Jewelers moved to the location. Bovaconti Jewelers was named after the owner’s great grandfather, John Bova Conti, who owned a grocery store at 960 S. East Street from the 1920s to the 1950s. When Bovaconti Coffee opened its doors in 2019, it kept the name and became a notable Fountain Square hotspot.

Written by: Jessica Barnett


Indianapolis City Directory Collection

1984 Historic Area Preservation Plan – Fountain Square

Indianapolis Star, September 21, 1932

Indianapolis Star, January 9, 2019

Department of Everyday – Visualigual

Indiana Historical Society, Italian American Collection