July 17 is Independents Week in the Heights

Members of CH City Council voted on a resolution to declare July 1–7 Independents Week in Cleveland Heights at the June 16 council meeting. From left, Council Member Jeff Coryell, holding a Simply Charming T-shirt; Council Member Mary Dunbar, with a shirt from Parnell’s Pub; Vice Mayor Cheryl Stephens, with one from Anatolia Café; Mayor Dennis Wilcox, with a Shawn Paul Salon shirt; Council Member Jason Stein with one from The Tavern Company; Council Member Janine Boyd with The Wine Spot's shirt; and Council Member Melissa Yasinow with one from Sweetie Fry.

At its June 16 meeting, CH City Council passed a resolution declaring July 1–7, 2014, Independents Week in Cleveland Heights. Representatives of FutureHeights and Heights Arts urged council to pass the resolution in remarks that preceded the meeting.

Council Member Jeff Coryell, who introduced the resolution, said, “Independents Week is a time to celebrate the independence of members of our community and the entrepreneurial spirit represented by our local independent businesses.”

Coryell added, “I want to emphasize that independent businesses help preserve the uniqueness of our community and give Cleveland Heights a stronger sense of place. Our independent businesses give back to the community in goods and services, time and talent, and the health of our economy depends on the support of businesses owned by the city’s friends and residents.”

Coryell urged residents to “go shop local and invest in our community by buying products and services by independent businesses based right here in Cleveland Heights.”

Mayor Dennis Wilcox thanked residents of Cleveland Heights, saying, “They have shown time and time again that they support our local businesses.”

Shawn Paul Gustafson, owner of Shawn Paul Salon in the Cedar Lee Business District and a member of the FutureHeights Board of Directors, said, “As a merchant, it is so important to have the support of the community, and in the Heights we really get that. Local businesses couldn’t survive without the support of the community and those that are leading us.”

Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights, described the community benefits of shopping at locally owned, independent merchants, and encouraged residents to make a conscious effort to shop at local businesses.

“Studies have shown that each dollar spent at a locally owned independent business returns three times more money to our local economy than one spent at a chain. The choices our residents make about where to spend their money are important to ensuring we keep these businesses that help define who we are and contribute to our sense of place,” she said.

Fisher invited residents to vote for their favorite businesses in FutureHeights’s annual Best of the Heights Awards contest. “The owner of each business that is nominated receives a free ticket to our Best of the Heights celebration in September, where we announce the winners of the contest and honor all of our local businesses,” she said.

Greg Donley, a member of the Heights Arts Board of Directors, said, “Cleveland Heights is home to the arts and there is all this creative energy just waiting to burst out. Another part of what makes this community unique is all the independent local businesses, and there is a whole stream of creativity going on there.”

Donley described Make Your Mark, a new program of Heights Arts that enables residents and business owners to create a personalized stamp that they can trade with each other. “This was the brain child of Rachel Bernstein, our executive director,” he said. “She realized that this is two branches of the same thing—there’s a great impulse to make great stuff in Cleveland Heights.”

Independents Week is part of a nationwide campaign facilitated by the American Independent Business Alliance. Learn more at www.amiba.net. Visit www.futureheights.org and www.heightsarts.org to learn more about these nonprofits and their programs to support local businesses.

Clare Taft

Clare Taft is president of the FutureHeights Board of Directors.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 11:00 AM, 06.24.2014