Simply Charming boutique returns to Lee Road
Inside a quirky space at 2254 Lee Road, Elisabeth Gevelber’s Simply Charming boutique offers everything from unique stationery to Australian jewelry to Hello Kitty accessories.
Simply Charming's motto—Stylish, Delightful, Unique—aptly describes both the store and its owner.
“I’m kind of like a square peg in a round hole, I don’t fit into corporate America,” Gevelber said. “It’s just easier for me to have my own business and I’m more comfortable doing my own thing.”
Gevelber believes a good location is key to starting a business from scratch.
“I was on Lee Road from 2007 to 2009, and there was nothing available when I was looking to reopen a year ago,” Gevelber said. "I'm glad to be back. Lee Road is a great place to be an entrepreneur.”
Besides location, Gevelber said that meeting vendors who have the products she wants to sell is essential, and trial and error is part of that experience.
“I’m going to offer an Australian line called Bico Pacific,” Gevelber said. “It started out as men’s jewelry, but both men and women can wear it. It’s fierce, really bold and strong. I’m really impressed with the line and it’s probably one of the most unique lines I’m carrying.”
Gevelber's prices range from the single digits to $295 for one-of-a-kind Italian jewelry.
Said Gevelber, "It’s a line of handmade jewelry called Extasia that is partly made in Italy and then finished in Los Angeles. I’m crazy about their stuff.”
Gebelber also carries a line of purses made here in Cleveland by a company called Blue Orchid. “It’s very cool and well-priced,” Gevelber said. “I really do carry an eclectic mix of stuff. I’m also a greeting card fanatic and I’m really excited because I’ll be carrying a line called 'I Can Has Cheezburger.' It’s hysterical!”
Because of the economy, Gevelber said, “People are more reserved and more thoughtful in their choices. I think people still want to give nice things as gifts and give more than just a gift card, so they like that they can find a great card here that’s either snarky or sweet and can always find something.”
Gevelber says she has never worried about having to shut down. “I think to open a business you have to be smart about what you’re doing,” she said. “If you’re opening a business worrying about shutting down, you shouldn’t open one.”
Gevelber grew up in Cleveland Heights and lived in San Francisco in the 1980s. Eventually, she made her way back to Cleveland and loves the vibe in Cleveland Heights.
“I think Cleveland Heights and Lakewood offer as close to a city vibe as you can get in Cleveland, because people live and work here,” she said. "They really support everything in their local environment, so that’s great.”
Gevelber is a member of Heights Independence Business Alliance, and is participating in the group's Indie Hop this month.
Gevelber said that parking meters are one of the biggest nuisances on Lee Road and are detrimental to running her business.
“It’s not very business friendly,” she said. “Especially since now most of [the meters] are one hour, it’s a huge problem. I wish the city would figure it out because it’s not good for business.”
Gevelber loves running her own business, and said, “It’s kind of like I’m a bartender without the alcohol inventory. Talking with different people is one of the best parts about my business. It never gets old to meet people who are really interesting, I love hearing their stories and how can you get sick of that? It’s fun.”
Gevelber uses social media and advertises in local print publications. She said that word-of-mouth is a huge part of her business, too.
“I have a good feeling about this, I really do. I really like it here,” Gevelber said. “I’m very hopeful.”
Simply Charming's summer hours are:
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday.
Yelena Tischenko is a senior majoring in magazine journalism at Kent State University and a Heights Observer summer intern.