Heights Observer readers suggest new businesses
Each year when FutureHeights conducts its annual Best of the Heights Awards survey through the Heights Observer, the last question asks readers to suggest businesses that they would like to see open up shop in the Heights. Because it is an open-ended question, the responses vary widely. Some suggest specific businesses by name, others suggest an idea for a particular vacant building or business district. Still others mention how much they miss a business that has closed that they would like to see return.
In this year’s survey, readers suggested several businesses for the Cedar Lee Business District: a breakfast place, a diner, a deli, a smoothie bar, a high-end restaurant, a pet store, pet grooming and doggie daycare, a farmers market and a craft-beer bar. Readers also suggested food trucks and music at the green space at Meadowbrook Boulevard and Lee Road.
Readers had ideas for what to do with the former Walmart space and other vacancies at Severance Town Center. Several readers suggested fitness facilities or places for family recreation—even though it is located just down the street from the Cleveland Heights Recreation Center. Readers suggested some specific activities that, perhaps, are not available at the rec center and would take advantage of the large spaces that exist at Severance. These include indoor sports facilities, such as a pool, running track, wrestling room, steam room, archery range, soccer courts, racquetball, tennis, rock climbing walls, roller rink, paintball, skateboard park, gymnastics, whirly ball and badminton courts.
Other uses for large vacant spaces include indoor amusement parks, art galleries and studios, and crafts and antiques markets. Readers also suggested national chains, such as Ikea, Trader Joe’s or Half-Price Books to fill the vacancies, although the location’s lack of highway access would preclude many of them from considering it.
Likewise, readers suggested several large-scale businesses for vacancies at University Square, including a bowling alley or athletic facility.
The Cedar Taylor Business District got quite a bit of attention as several participants had specific suggestions for what they would like to see there, including a doughnut shop, a coffee shop or a bakery. Readers suggested that the Noble Road corridor needed similar attractions, especially a coffee shop and restaurants. Arts and crafts were also suggested for this area.
Some specific businesses mentioned by name include the following national chains: FedEx, Kinko's, Cross-Fit Gym, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Longhorn Steakhouse, Trader Joe’s, Ikea, Aldi, Golden Corral, Dave & Busters, Sky Zone Trampoline Park, In-N-Out Burger, Best Buy, Insomnia Cookies, Hallmark, Half-Price Books, Funk n’ Waffles restaurant and Sweet Tomatoes restaurant.
Regional businesses for which the Heights might become an additional location include: The Mutt Hutt in Tremont, Chinatown's Szechuan Café, Heinen’s, Imaginary Worlds, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, L'Chateleine (a French restaurant in Columbus), Lost Nation Sports Park, Mahall’s 20 Lanes, The Corner Alley, Swings-N-Things Family Fun Park, The Side Quest (a “nerd bar” in Lakewood), and Sprinkles (a cupcake shop). We’re not sure if the Angela Mia one reader suggested meant the pizza place in East Cleveland or the specialty bakery located in Norwalk, Conn., that ships nationally.
In addition to storefront businesses, readers also said they wanted a biotech or other technology company, and a corporate headquarters.
Businesses that residents would like to see reopened in the Heights include Miracles (potato pancakes), Seitz-Agin, Earth By April (vegetarian), Sweetie Fry, Rockefeller’s, Chuck’s Diner and Simply Charming.
Although the Heights already has these types of businesses, readers said that they would like to see more: bookstores, coffee shops, bakeries, ice cream shops, pharmacies, florists, hardware stores, skate stores, breweries, photo studios and clothing stores. Types of restaurants requested include Indian, Cuban, French, Mexican, seafood, gluten-free, tacos, tapas and vegan. Several readers expressed the opinion that the Heights has enough hair and nail salons.
Out-of-the-box suggestions included a medical marijuana dispensary, a teen nightclub, a hot tub co-op or flotation-tank spa, a maker space, a motorcycle custom shop, a quilt shop, a women’s shoe store, a running gear store, a swap shop and a scooter retailer.
And several readers suggested that one of the Heights’s celebrity chefs—Doug Katz, Michael Symon or Jonathon Sawyer were mentioned by name—open a new restaurant in Cleveland Heights, with particular emphasis on Lee Road, that would “inject some fun and creativity into the ‘heart’ of [the city].”
Deanna Bremer Fisher
Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.