Inn on Coventry celebrates 35 years of business

The Inn on Coventry is celebrating its 35th anniversary this summer, and its owners, Debra Duirk and Mary Haley, are planning some special events to celebrate.

The restaurant opened on July 27, 1981. This year, July 27 is “Throwback Wednesday” at the Inn; coffee will be free (with purchase of food), and buttermilk pancakes will be available for $1 each. In addition, starting June 20, the Inn will be giving raffle tickets to diners; prizes include a mountain bike decorated with a Coca-Cola logo, and certificates good for free coffee for a year and free breakfast specials for a month. The restaurant also plans to offer 35th-anniversary Inn on Coventry T-shirts and sweatshirts as part of the raffle, and for purchase. The raffle drawing will be held on July 27.

“I really just want to thank everyone for supporting us over the last 35 years,” said Duirk. “We really just want to show our appreciation, and that’s why we are having the specials and the raffle.”

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 10:01 AM, 06.21.2016

Local couple hopes to continue Mitchell’s Chocolates tradition

Newlyweds Jason Hallaman and Emily Bean are seeking to carry on the Mitchell’s tradition for the next generation of chocolate lovers. Bill Mitchell, whose family founded Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates in 1939, announced his desire to retire from the business last year. Without children or other family members to succeed him, he sought a buyer he could trust to carry on the brand and maintain the family recipes.

A few short weeks ago, he found two. Hallaman and Bean said they were out shopping on the Eastside when they saw a display of Mitchell’s chocolates and exclaimed how much they liked them. The store clerk overheard and casually asked if they had heard the news that the business was for sale.

“We go to the same church [Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Cleveland Heights], but we hadn’t heard he was selling the business,” said Hallaman. “We dropped everything and ran over to the store on Lee Road to talk to Bill.”

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 11:35 AM, 05.24.2016

Cedar Lee finishes fourth in America's Main Streets contest

On June 3, Independent We Stand—an organization that supports independently owned and socially responsible businesses, and promotes the importance, and benefits, of “buying local”—announced that downtown Lynden, Wash., was the grand-prize winner of its America's Main Streets 2016 contest. According to Tara Mazzarella, a representative of Independent We Stand, the Cedar Lee Business District ranked an impressive fourth among the top 10 semifinalists in the national online voting competition that recognizes the important role that main street commercial districts play in the long-term success of communities.

In March, FutureHeights nominated Cedar Lee for the contest, and launched a campaign to encourage residents and others to vote online every 24 hours for the district—named one of 25 quarterfinalists from across the country—through April 24.

“This year provided a great opportunity to nominate Cedar Lee because of the $3.3 million Lee Road streetscape improvements that broke ground in May,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights. “Additional funding could have helped enhance the area further, which is now undergoing planned improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists, with new crosswalks, lighting and amenities, such as bicycle repair stations. During this construction phase, it’s especially important that our community continue to patronize these local businesses."

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 11:21 AM, 06.14.2016

Scene counts Heights businesses among Cleveland's best

Scene magazine announced its Best of Cleveland 2016 list on April 27, and Heights businesses were well represented on it, placing in five of the six categories: Arts & Entertainment; Food & Drink; Shops & Services; Bars & Clubs; and People & Places. Scene publishes the list annually as "a guide to the best of all that is happening" in Greater Cleveland.

Scene named In the 216, at 1854 Coventry Road, Best New Store. In the 216 also won Best Store to Find a Piece of Cleveland for its Cleveland-proud merchandise.

“We are very humbled by the recognition,” said Jenny Goe, owner of In the 216, which features all Ohio-made products.“We have worked very hard to gather an eclectic group of artists and artisans from Cleveland and other parts of Ohio. Mostly, we are so excited that the 104 creatives represented in the shop have been awarded this honor. They are everything, and the past year would not have happened without all of them.”

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 1:11 PM, 05.03.2016

Dorsey & Company makes changes to enhance its expertise

Dorsey & Company, a marketing strategy and consulting firm in Cleveland Heights, has enhanced its expertise with the addition of a new strategic partner and by moving a senior associate into the role of managing director.

Peter Lawson Jones and Dorsey have just entered into a strategic partnership. “Peter brings additional depth in the government and nonprofit space that can help us to more effectively solve an even wider array of competitive and marketing issues that clients in these sectors face more and more today,” said Julius C. Dorsey Jr., president of Dorsey & Company. “With his counsel and participation in engagements of such high consequence, I know we’ll be in an even better position to provide a higher level of satisfaction to our clients across many industries.”

A seasoned public servant, Harvard-educated Jones previously served for nine years as a member of the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners—and served as its president for three of those years. He also served two and one-half terms in the Ohio House of Representatives, and was formerly vice mayor and councilman in the City of Shaker Heights.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 6:32 PM, 06.06.2016

New restaurant to feature authentic Greek and Indian flavors

Eustathea Kavouras, owner of Greedy Girl Ethnic Street Flavors, a new restaurant specializing in Greek and Indian street food, is working toward a summer opening at 2158 Taylor Road, next to Mister Brisket.

This is Kavouras’ first foray into the food business. For the past 22 years, Kavouras, 60, has been a physician assistant at various area hospitals. But, she said, she has always wanted to own a restaurant: “It’s been a dream of mine since I was 12 years old. I have been cooking all of these years, and I decided it was time to do it.”

“I was raised Greek, and I began cooking Greek delicacies with my mother and grandmother when I was 4,” Kavouras explained. “Then I spent time with an Indian family, and my adopted culture is Indian. I visited India several times, primarily learning how to cook their foods.”

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 6:11 PM, 05.31.2016

UH resident founds website for women without children

A large percentage of women in the United States and around the world are not having children, either by choice or because of circumstances beyond their control. In 2013, Time magazine ran a cover story about the changing demographic among women. According to the 2014 U.S. census, 47.6 percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 did not have children.

To address the needs and concerns of childless women, University Heights resident Karen Malone Wright started the TheNotMom website. It gets more than 10,000 visits and 35,000 page views each month. On Oct. 6 and 7, she’ll host TheNotMom’s second international conference at the new Hilton Cleveland Downtown Hotel.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 6:05 PM, 05.31.2016

Culture comes to Cedar Lee corner

A new Cleveland Heights store opened in mid-April, at 2150 Lee Road, on the southwest corner of Cedar and Lee roads. Called Culture Footwear and Apparel, the store is located in the space that had been occupied by Abrash Gallerie for 11 years. Abrash closed on Sept. 7, 2015.

Culture sells a variety of urban apparel for both men and women, including sporting clothes and athletic boots and shoes. The Cleveland Heights store is the third Culture location to open in Greater Cleveland within the past year. The first Culture store opened last June in the Fifth Street Arcade in downtown Cleveland, and a second store opened in April, at 16832 Chagrin Blvd. in Shaker Heights.

Morad Ali, a 33-year-old who grew up in Westlake and currently lives in downtown Cleveland, owns all three stores.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 1:19 PM, 04.30.2016

Ten Thousand Villages launches campaign to plant 10,000 trees

Ten Thousand Villages in Cleveland Heights, a fair trade retailer at 12425 Cedar Road, will participate in a nationwide campaign to plant 10,000 trees in national forests. The program, which starts April 21 and runs through May 1, invites customers to donate $1 to plant a tree through the Arbor Day Foundation.

Ten Thousand Villages in Cleveland Heights, one of more than 390 Ten Thousand Villages shops throughout the U.S., hopes its customers will contribute, to help plant 150 trees on behalf of the Heights community. Ten Thousand Villages corporate offices based in Akron, Pa., will donate 1,000 trees.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:40 AM, 04.17.2016

CH residents open fitness club on South Taylor

A new fitness club opened on Jan. 15 at 2086 South Taylor Road, next to Cafe Tandoor, near Cedar Road. Called CrossFit I/O, it’s owned by two Cleveland Heights residents, Michael and Jodi Meilstrup.

At CrossFit, members work out with other members. “You work out as a team,” Jodi said. “We work out in a way that our bodies naturally move, to become stronger and more fit. You use your entire body for almost every exercise. For example, if you are rowing, you use your legs, your back, your stomach and your arms.”

The CrossFit chain was started in 2000, and there are now more than 13,000 affiliates around the world. “I believe that a new affiliate opens every nine days,” Michael said.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:52 AM, 04.05.2016

CH couple opens Amish furniture store on Fairmount

A new furniture store has opened in Cleveland Heights. Called Eastwood Amish Craft Furniture, the store is located at 3451 Fairmount Blvd., at the corner of Fairmount and Taylor Road.

The space was previously home to Paysage, which also sold furniture and home-décor items.

The Eastwood store is different from other furniture stores in the area. Amish craftsmen from Ohio make all of the furniture the store sells. In addition, customers can request that the craftsmen create specific, customized furniture items, made to their specifications.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 2:05 PM, 03.28.2016

Cleveland Candle Company opening on Coventry

The Cleveland Candle Company, a business that is currently located in Mentor, plans to open a second store at the end of April on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights. In addition to selling a large variety of candles, the store also invites customers to create their own candles, choosing the scents, size and shape.

David Gin, co-founder and president of the company, owns the store along with Linda Turner and Tanya Bratten. Gin, who is 30 years old, was born in Chicago and spent many of his younger years in Indiana. He attended Indiana Wesleyan University, where he majored in finance and marketing. In 2011, he created a company called Real Frût to produce gourmet fruit juices. The company won the Best Juice in Cleveland award from Cleveland Magazine in 2013.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 2:01 PM, 03.28.2016

Big Fun turns 25 in April

On Friday, April 1, Big Fun will mark its 25th anniversary.

Owner Steve Presser said that he is delighted that his store has been around for 25 years. “It’s unusual in this day and age to have any longevity,” he said. “With the Internet and everything else, it’s become very hard for retail stores to survive. But fortunately, we have made it! And the idea is for people to come into the store and shop and have the experience.”

In celebration, on April 1, the iconic toy store, located at 1814 Coventry Road, will offer 25 percent off the price of every item in the store, and customers will be invited to enjoy slices of cake.

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 9:03 AM, 03.01.2016

Cleveland Running Company moves to Lee Road

Cleveland Running Company, formerly located on Van Aken Boulevard in Shaker Heights, is relocating to 2246 Lee Road, between Meadowbrook Boulevard and Kensington Road. The store's owner, Jeff Fisher, is planning a mid-February opening.

“They’re re-doing the building we were in,” explained Fisher. “Our space was being downsized, and it was priced more than we could afford.”

Fisher said he decided to move the store to Cleveland Heights, where he once lived, because he has always liked the city. “I really like that it has all of these walkable neighborhoods,” he said. “And it’s got a great mix of people. I’m looking forward to running in Cain Park next summer.”

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 1:28 PM, 02.12.2016

Three new businesses bring new life to Cedar Lee corner

The Douglas Fine Arts Building, on the northwest corner of Cedar and Lee roads in Cleveland Heights, is seeing an influx of new businesses. Lucky Sparrow Tattoo opened on Feb. 4, and two takeout restaurants are coming soon. Tarita’s Wet Burritas is slated to open by the end of February, and the owner of Fresh & Meaty Burgers hopes to open his restaurant no later than early April.

Lucky Sparrow Tattoo has opened at 2128 Lee Road (216-505-5885), in the space previously occupied by Heights Guitars. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 8 p.m., and accepts walk-ins as well as advance appointments.

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 9:52 AM, 02.09.2016

Luna expands in Cedar Fairmount and beyond

Luna Bakery and Café recently underwent an expansion—its second since opening in June 2011. The restaurant, located in the Cedar Fairmount Business District, took over a portion of the space previously occupied by The Mad Greek. This expansion adds 500 square feet to Luna, enabling the café to add about 25 new seats.

When Luna originally opened, it could seat only about 15 people inside, though a patio offers additional seating in spring and summer. In the winter of 2011, the restaurant added a back room, increasing the number of indoor seats to about 35. With its latest expansion, the restaurant can now accommodate about 60 people inside.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:30 AM, 01.26.2016

Rudy's Pub opens on Lee Road

Rudy’s Pub, which had been on Van Aken Road near Warrensville Center Road in Shaker Heights for nearly a decade, has re-opened in the Cedar Lee neighborhood of Cleveland Heights. The restaurant is now located 2191 Lee Road, in the space previously occupied by the Cedar Lee Pub, which closed temporarily in October 2014, and then closed permanently in 2015.

Quintin Jones and Amanda Elfers, who are engaged to be married, own the pub. They closed the Shaker Heights location in October 2015 because of all of the construction and redevelopment going on in that neighborhood. Then, a couple of their regular customers told them about the Cedar Lee Pub space. Jones and Elfers came by, thought it would be a great spot for their restaurant, called the building’s owner and rented the space.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 10:23 AM, 01.19.2016

Lee Road merchants introduce valet parking service

If inadequate parking along Lee Road had long frustrated patrons and tamped down weekend business, as merchants largely contend, availability and convenience of parking along a key Cleveland Heights business district just got a whole lot better, beginning last weekend.

In November, a group of Lee Road merchants, led by Chris Armington, Tavern Company owner, organized a plan to provide valet parking services to the commercial district. The merchants partnered with locally-based valet service, VIP Valet. That plan went into effect on the evening of Friday, Dec. 18, as four valet parking stations spanning from Cedar Lee Theatre to Brennan’s Colony were open for business.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 2:23 PM, 12.22.2015

CLE Urban Winery to open on Lee Road in 2016

A new winery is slated to open in May 2016 on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. Called CLE Urban Winery, it will be one of the first federally bonded wineries in the Cleveland area to produce, serve and sell its own handcrafted wines exclusively.

When owner Destiny Burns turned 50 last year, she felt at a crossroads. “I decided it was time to come home to Cleveland,” she said.

She started looking for places where she could open her own winery. When she saw the space at 2180 Lee Road, she decided it was perfect and contacted the building’s owner. Studio You, a ceramic business, had occupied the space several years before. The space includes an area that had served as a garage.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 5:12 PM, 12.30.2015

Heights-based NatureVation leads outdoor adventures

In 1999, Cleveland Heights resident Elaine Price took an “adventure vacation” in Santa Fe, N.M. Even better than the hiking, biking and rafting was the fact that all the planning and logistics—from lodging to meals to the itinerary—were taken care of for her. While on the trip, Price found herself wondering why there was nothing similar in the Great Lakes region. “Our nature is just as great as theirs,” she reasoned. “We should be doing this there.”

The idea stayed with her until, in 2013, Price and her husband, Gordon Landefeld, founded NatureVation (a combination of the words “nature” and “innovation”), a nature tourism company that leads local adventures for individuals and groups.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 4:55 PM, 12.30.2015

Jeanology clothing store is reborn on Taylor

Clarence Allen had always loved shopping at Jeanology, the clothing store at 2110 South Taylor Road that originally opened in 2006. In 2012, he stopped by and noticed that the owners had not been re-stocking the store. “I asked the owner, and he told me he was thinking about closing,” Allen said. Over the next two years, when Allen would drive by the shop, “it looked abandoned,” he recalled.

The store officially closed in December 2013. Then, in November 2014, Allen saw a “For Rent” sign on the front of the store. “I called the number on the sign,” Allen said, “and the owners of the building said they wanted to rent the space.” So Allen called Andrew Jackson, who had been the owner of Jeanology. “He asked me what my plans were,” Allen said, “and I told him I wanted to get Jeanology re-opened.”

Allen teamed up with a longtime friend of his, Rick Steele, and the two took over the ownership of the store in January 2015. Under their leadership, the store re-opened on March 5.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 9:57 AM, 12.22.2015

'Wonderful' new gift shop opens on Lee Road

A new gift shop has opened in the space previously occupied by Simply Charming in the Cedar Lee neighborhood. Called S’Wonderful Gifts, the store opened on Nov. 17. It offers a wide variety of items, including jewelry, plush animals, ceramics, watches, purses, soaps and nail polish.

Bill Wort, 61, the new store’s owner, has spent most of his life working at museum stores. He grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, and worked at several museums there over the years. In 2007, he moved to Sarasota, Fla., where he ran the store at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Then, in December 2011, the Cleveland Museum of Art hired him to run its shop while the museum was undergoing renovations. He left after about a year.

“I have wanted to open a gift store for some time,” said Wort, who lives on Scarborough Road in Cleveland Heights. “I was looking for a place with foot traffic. Living in the area, I knew about Simply Charming, and my wife shopped there a lot.”

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 9:56 AM, 11.24.2015

Cleveland Bazaar coming to Coventry Dec. 5

More than 70 artists and crafts people will be on Coventry Road on Dec. 5, when the Cleveland Bazaar comes to Cleveland Heights for the first time. The bazaar is the longest-running indie crafts show in Cleveland. It started in 2004, and usually attracts thousands of people to its events.

The Cleveland Heights show will be indoors at 1854 Coventry Road, near Euclid Heights Boulevard. Crafts people and artists will be on the upper level, in spaces formerly occupied by Burgers-n-Beer and Kiwi Spoon. Artists will also be in the Grog Shop, which will be serving Bloody Marys. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Jenny Goe, who owns the In the 216 store with her husband, has taken part in the bazaar for many years. After opening her shop on Coventry, Goe contacted Shannon Okey, who runs the bazaar, and suggested she do an event there. Angela Hetrick, executive director of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District, helped secure the Grog Shop. In addition to the artists and vendors, many Coventry Village merchants will also have displays.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 9:47 AM, 12.01.2015

Heights merchants celebrate season with Holiday Stroll

The holiday season is upon us, and three Cleveland Heights shopping districts are planning a celebration. On Saturday, Dec. 12, the Coventry Village, Cedar Lee and Cedar Fairmount business districts will all take part in the second-annual Holiday Stroll.

The stroll will run from noon to 8 p.m., and from 4 to 8 p.m. shoppers can hop on Lolly the Trolley, at designated stops, to travel between the three districts and partake of the activities. All of the neighborhoods will offer shopping deals, plus music, movies and other entertainment. Some bars and restaurants will offer music later in the evening.

In addition, the City of Cleveland Heights will offer free parking at all city parking meters on Dec. 12.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 9:30 AM, 12.01.2015

Coventry's Houde School is a home for aspiring actors

The Houde School of Acting, at 1777 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights, opened in 2007. The school offers classes for people of almost all ages, with three classes for children ages 6–13, and other classes for teens and adults.

Jessica Houde Morris, 37, founded the school. Born in Massachusetts, Morris moved to the Cleveland area with her family when she was 18. Shortly after they moved here, she was wondering what she should do with her life, and her parents suggested that she look into acting or modeling. Eight months later, she moved to Los Angeles and began taking classes at the acting school Playhouse West.

Robert Carnegie, the founder of the school, worked with Sanford Meisner, who developed what’s called the Meisner style of actor training. The Houde School focuses on the Meisner style. “His theory was that, in order to act, you have to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances,” Morris said. “There are 10 levels of technique you have to go through to learn the entire thing.” She noted that it can take up to four years for a student to learn the Meisner style.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 2:35 PM, 12.01.2015

NextStep offfers small business owners tools for successful growth

Small business owners in the Heights are invited to apply to participate in NextStep: Strategies for Business Growth, a program of University Circle Inc., presented by KeyBank.

NextStep gives small business owners an opportunity to gain knowledge and experience through an award-winning curriculum that incorporates ready-to-apply tactics shared by fellow business owners and experts. Participants receive practical knowledge and implementation strategies on business development, finance and financial management, sales and marketing, human resources, access to new capital, and government and anchor-institution contracting. Using their own companies as in-depth case studies, business owners complete the program with a customized three-year strategic-growth action plan and new networks for business development.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 11:22 AM, 12.02.2015

Wanderlust makes one-of-a-kind jewelry in CH studio

Wanderlust Jewelers specializes in one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces of jewelry, including engagement rings, wedding rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Wanderlust’s owners, Wes and Heather Airgood, have lived in Cleveland Heights since 2010. They recently moved their studio from Little Italy to 12429 Cedar Road, above Starbucks in the Cedar Fairmount district.

On Nov. 19, 5–8 p.m., Wanderlust will hold an open-house event. “We want people to see what we do and how we do it,” said Wes Airgood.

Wes, 33, was born in northern Indiana. His family moved to Toledo when he was in junior high school. In 2005, he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and then went on to the University of Georgia, where he earned a master’s degree in fine arts, with a concentration in metalwork and jewelry design.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 12:19 PM, 11.14.2015

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 3:29 PM, 10.30.2015

Cedar Center South gets a new look

Cedar Center South is undergoing a facelift. The University Heights shopping center, on the south side of Cedar Road, west of Warrensville Center Road, is owned by Inland Real Estate Corporation, which purchased it in the fall of 2013. Inland is renovating the exteriors of all of the stores, with the exception of Whole Foods and CVS.

The renovations began on July 20, and are expected to be complete by mid-November. Inland plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony when all of the work is done, but no date had been set at press time.

“We are very excited to enhance the center, and we are very pleased with the cooperation from our tenants and from the city of University Heights,” said Kristi Rankin, senior vice president of Inland.

The renovations are being done by Veteran Development and Construction. Though the center has been in existence since the 19502, no one could say when it was last renovated.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 3:27 PM, 10.30.2015

New music store opens on Lee Road

A new music store opened Nov. 1 on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. Called the Heights Music Shop, the store moved into the space previously occupied by Serendipity, at 2174 Lee Road.

The shop is owned by Darrell Branch, who was manager of Heights Guitars on Lee Road before it closed in March 2014, and Rick Szekelyi, a guitarist who has been involved with music for many years. Szekelyi had the idea for the store. He then contacted Cleveland Heights musician Charlie Mosbrook, who suggested that he team up with Branch.

The shop sells guitars and other stringed instruments, including banjos and ukuleles. It also sells effects pedals, strings and other accessories, and will offer lessons and provide full-service instrument repairs. In addition, it will hold workshops on such topics as songwriting and how to take care of your guitar. And it will host open-mic events. It plans to present in-store concerts by both local musicians and others who are in the Cleveland area for concerts and other events. The owners hope to team up with local arts-centered institutions to bring other programs into the store.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 3:24 PM, 10.30.2015

Celebrating Halloween in the Heights

It’s become a fall family tradition—celebrating the thrills and chills of Halloween in various Cleveland Heights business districts—at safe, walkable, family-friendly community events. This year, three business districts will host separate Halloween-themed events, welcoming residents to get in costume and trick-or-treat, all while enjoying neighborhood establishments.

On Friday, Oct. 23, 5–8 p.m., the Cedar Lee Business District, in conjunction with FutureHeights, will host the Cedar Lee Candy Crawl. Children are encouraged to dress in their favorite Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat at the many Lee Road businesses that will be displaying a Candy Crawl sign.

The Cedar Fairmount Halloween/Fall Festival takes place Wednesday, Oct. 28, 5–7 p.m. The event includes trick-or-treating and a costume parade, as well as entertainment by Caleb Wright, Musical Mark and Whipples the Balloon Clown. Attendees can participate in cupcake and cookie decorating, play games at the India Community Center, and enjoy merchant and restaurant specials. Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District, City Architecture and Cedar Road Buffalo Wild Wings are sponsors of the event. Learn more at the event's Facebook page.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 10:02 AM, 10.20.2015

Black Box Fix and Motorcars are among the Best of the Heights

On Oct. 7, at its 11th annual Best of the Heights Awards, FutureHeights honored outstanding businesses in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. From May to August, readers of the Heights Observer voted for their favorite businesses in 19 categories, and 241 businesses were nominated. Finalists and winners were announced at the event, which was held in Tucker Hall at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Black Box Fix edged out finalists Motorcars Mobility and Momo’s Kebab to win Best New Business. The gourmet sandwich shop, at 2307 Lee Road, occupies the corner storefront previously occupied by Sweetie Fry, and is owned by Eric and LaToya Rogers.

Black Box Fix was also named Best African-American-Owned Business. Naturally Gifted Fitness Center, located in the Heights Masonic Building at 1635 Lee Road, and Mama Joyce’s Soul Food Café, at 2238 Lee Road, were finalists in the category.

"We are honored and blessed to be recognized for these two awards," said Eric Rogers, owner of Black Box Fix. “The Cleveland Heights community and Northeast Ohio have embraced us with tremendous support and love. We love this community and everyone in it, and we will continue to grow, serve and be a great part of the blazing food scene in Cleveland Heights.”

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 2:12 PM, 10.12.2015

First phase of Cedar Taylor streetscape improvements is installed

The Cedar Taylor Business District has a fresh new look, thanks to the Cedar Taylor Development Association (CTDA), the vision of a handful of local creative professionals, and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the City of Cleveland Heights. 

Colorful new street banners, modern benches, and eclectic bike racks now grace the intersection of Cedar and Taylor roads and the adjacent blocks on the western side of South Taylor Road. 

CTDA began planning for streetscape improvements in 2013. "Over the past two years, we've been awarded $21,000 from Cleveland Heights CDBG funds, and separately we've raised $6,000, for a total of $27,000 spent to this point,” said Kevin Smith, president of the board of directors of CTDA. “We've applied for next year's allotment of CDBG funds and continue to raise money from other sources."

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 10:47 AM, 09.08.2015

Steve Presser leads life filled with toys, art and community

Standing next to a seven-and-a-half-foot-long G.I. Joe aircraft carrier, flanked by a few dozen action figures, jets and hovercrafts, Steve Presser is a man who has found his calling.

Since leaving his job as a stockbroker 24 years ago and opening Big Fun, a toy store in the artsy Coventry Village neighborhood of Cleveland Heights, Presser, 57, has become a vocal business leader, community coordinator and activist for the arts.

Reflecting on how his life has changed since his days of selling commodities, Presser said, “Now my commodities are fake dog-doo and throw-up, and lots of collectible toys.”

Wearing a bowling shirt and sporting short gray hair and a soul patch, Presser walked into Tommy’s restaurant, a vegan-friendly diner a few doors down from his store.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 2:11 PM, 08.31.2015

Cedar Taylor installs new street banners

The Cedar Taylor Development Association installed new street banners and planters this summer to create a sense of place. Next on the group's list is to install new bike racks and benches.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 1:50 PM, 08.31.2015

Ten Thousand Villages brings fair-trade rug event to the Alcazar

Ten Thousand Villages is bringing a fair-trade rug event to Cleveland Heights. Although these rugs from Pakistan are not literally made of magic, they seem enchanted for the people who made them, bringing these artisans good fortune and recognition.

Ten Thousand Villages, in the Cedar Fairmount Business District, is a local nonprofit fair trade retail store that, for the third consecutive year, will bring the popular Fair Trade Oriental Rug Event to the historic Alcazar Hotel. The event will offer more than 300 high-quality hand-knotted Bunyaad rugs for sale.

The Fair Trade Oriental Rug Event is not an ordinary sale; it is an opportunity to give recognition to the artisans who spend their hours, days and weeks weaving and knotting these unique rugs.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 1:48 PM, 08.31.2015

Bussey's Upholstery has been in CH since 1954

Bussey’s Upholstery Foam ‘N’ Fabric Inc., located at 2311 Lee Road, has been a Cleveland Heights institution since 1954, when it moved into one side of its current location. In 1975, Bussey’s expanded, taking over the space next door, which had been occupied by the New York Kosher Butcher. It has filled both storefronts ever since.

The store is owned by Mark Bussey, 63, and his wife, Marlene. His father, Irving M. Bussey, founded the store back in 1930. It was originally located at 12305 St. Clair Ave., near East 123rd Street, in Cleveland. Bussey’s sells fabric that can be used for upholstery, slipcovers and draperies, and it sells foam for virtually every size of mattress. Bussey’s also sells various tools and other supplies for upholstery work. Bussey’s will also do upholstery work for its customers, including refilling cushions. Almost all of the products it sells are made in the U.S.A.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:59 AM, 07.31.2015

Trapped! opens on Coventry

Real-life escape rooms are booming all over the world. The rooms are based on video games, where the player is locked inside a room and must explore his or her surroundings in order to escape. Players must be observant and use critical-thinking skills to escape the room. The first real-life escape room opened in Japan in 2008. The rooms quickly spread across Asia, and then, a couple of years later, one opened in Budapest, Hungary, followed by many more in Europe. In 2012, the first North American escape room opened in San Francisco, and more soon opened, first in New York, then Toronto. Now, Greater Cleveland has its first real-life escape room.

Called Trapped!, the escape room opened on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights on July 17. Its owners are Cleveland Heights resident Alan Applegate and his brother, Scott Applegate. Alan first discovered the concept in Toronto in March, when he and his two sons—12-year-old Robbie and 14-year-old Tyler—were attending a film festival.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:07 AM, 07.21.2015

Appletree Books celebrates 40 years of independent bookselling

This July, Appletree Books celebrates 40 years of selling books in the same location on Cedar Hill. Bill Rubin opened the bookstore in 1975, and, in 1990, Jane Kessler became its second owner. In July 2014, Lynn Quintrell and Alice Webster became the store's new owners, carrying on the bookselling tradition at 12419 Cedar Road.

On Friday, July 17, 5–8 p.m., Appletree is hosting an anniversary open house, featuring prosecco and hors d’oeuvres, to celebrate those 40 years. No reservation is required, and everyone is welcome to attend the event.

"Please join us as we celebrate both our history and our future!" said Quintrell.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:45 AM, 07.14.2015

MoMo's Kebab offers tasty take on Moroccan food

MoMo’s Kebab, a restaurant that specializes in Moroccan food, opened last February at 2199 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. Mohamed Abdessamad, the restaurant’s chef and owner, was born in Morocco, immigrated to the U.S. in 1990, and moved to the Cleveland area in 2007.

Abdessamad, 55, said he has always had a passion for cooking, which he learned from his mother. When he was 21, he moved from Morocco to France, then Germany and finally Russia. He spent seven years there, primarily in St. Petersburg, where he attended college and earned two master’s degrees, one in linguistics and one in education. While in Russia, Abdessamad was asked to cook a meal for the Moroccan ambassador. “After he ate, he came up to me and shook my hand and told me how good the food was,” Abdessamad said. “That was the first time I had cooked for someone, and his response really had an impact on me.”

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 5:24 PM, 06.26.2015

CH resident turns love of knitting into a career

Hunter Hammersen first tried knitting when she was in college. She wanted to knit a scarf, and she didn’t enjoy it. A few years later, she tried knitting a scarf again, and she still didn’t like it. Then, in 2007, she knitted a pair of socks, and she really loved it. Since then, Hammersen has become “totally obsessed” with knitting, and has written seven books about the subject.

“It's a total rookie mistake to make a scarf for your first project,” Hammersen said. “A scarf is really long and can be terribly boring to create. I know plenty of experienced knitters who don't like knitting scarves, and expecting a beginner to get through one is wildly over-optimistic. Socks are more entertaining than scarves because you change what you're doing as you move along. Just as you're starting to lose interest, you start doing something new. They're much better for folks with short attention spans!”

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 7:00 PM, 05.28.2015

Motorcars is named Green Energy business of the year

Green Energy of Ohio has recognized Motorcars Honda’s sustainability efforts by selecting it for the 2015 Business of the Year Award at its annual meeting in May.

This year, Motorcars installed a state-of-the-art 335 kilowatt solar canopy system, the largest single-structure solar array in the state of Ohio, at its facility at 2953 Mayfield Road. Trevor Gile, general manager of Motorcars Honda, said that the goal is energy independence: “Our solar panels will reduce our carbon footprint by the equivalent of 10 years’ worth of new car sales.”

Gile added that the solar panels will produce more than three megawatt hours of electricity per day and reduce the dealership’s grid-based energy needs by 50 to 75 percent.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 6:54 PM, 05.28.2015

How to explore potential market demand for your business idea

The Heights brims with entrepreneurial activity. Whether you’re a startup or established business with an idea for a new venture, most entrepreneurs will quickly face this question, “Who will buy my product?”

If you’re not already familiar with lean or agile development approaches, you can get the gist via some online reading. The basic idea is to quickly explore and develop market demand while refining your idea. Don’t reach deep into your pockets or fund a big, long-term development process at this point. Take fast, low-cost steps instead.

Agile development works for consumer and business audiences and all industries. It applies to healthcare, financial services, hospitality, industrial goods and consumer products. Here’s an agile way to get started with your idea:

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 6:52 PM, 05.28.2015

Cedar Fairmount businesses honored

The City of Cleveland Heights presented businesses with longtime locations in the Cedar Fairmount Business District with proclamations honoring their longevity at an event held at Nighttown on May 10. Businesses and professionals who were honored are: Bridgestone Firestone, 85 years; Cedar Hill Sunoco, 82 years; Nighttown restaurant, 50 years; Cedar Hill Antiques, 45 years; Blatchford Architects, 42 years; Appletree Books, 40 years; Dr. James Bashaw, 40 years; Dr. Javier Galvez, 38 years; Pete Axelrod, 37 years; India Community Center, 37 years; Jack Valancy Consulting, 35 years; Mad Greek restaurant, 34 years; Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, 32 years; Dr. Maureen Krieck, 31 years; Reflections, 30 years; Abstract Hair Salon, 30 years; JPMorgan Chase Bank, 27 years; Stan Harris Insurance, 27 years; Roth Stanley & Associates Therapy Practice, 27 years; and Dr. Terry Tobias, 25 years.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 10:53 AM, 05.26.2015

UH photo studio will donate portion of Mother’s Day portrait proceeds to Operation Smile

Aharon Denton Photography of University Heights is celebrating children’s smiles this Mother's Day with a one-day portrait event to benefit Operation Smile.

On Sunday, May 10, the studio will donate every session fee and 5 percent of each order to Operation Smile—an international children's medical charity that performs safe, effective cleft lip and cleft palate surgery, and delivers postoperative and ongoing medical therapies to children in low- and middle-income countries.

Since 1982, Operation Smile—through the help of dedicated medical volunteers—has provided 220,000 free surgical procedures for children and young adults. For every $240 donated to Operation Smile, one child can be helped.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 9:40 AM, 05.05.2015

Best of the Heights now accepting nominations

Heights residents can vote for their favorite Heights businesses in the 11th annual FutureHeights Best of the Heights awards program. The 2015 survey begins May 1 and runs through Aug. 31.

Since 2005, FutureHeights—a nonprofit that inspires and facilitates collaboration and empowerment in our community—has conducted this public opinion survey to recognize the unique attributes of locally owned Heights businesses, and their contributions to the local economy.

Ballots for Best of the Heights awards will be available in the May, June, July and August issues of the Heights Observer, at the many Heights independent businesses and online at

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 1:43 PM, 05.01.2015

Cedar Fairmount to honor oldest businesses on May 14

The Cedar Fairmount Business District lies 150 feet beyond the border of Cleveland, and is known as the “Gateway to the Heights.” In the early 1900s, real estate developers turned Cedar Fairmount into the first planned neighborhood shopping area in Cleveland Heights, and streetcars traveled the route between downtown Cleveland and the district. 

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 1:40 PM, 05.01.2015

Bon Appetit plans new restaurant in Coventry

Café Bon Appetit—a restaurant that specializes in healthy food, including organic and vegetarian items—is poised for an early May opening on Euclid Heights Boulevard, at the south end of Coventry Road. This will be the restaurant’s second location. The first opened in 2010, at 1900 Euclid Ave., near Cleveland State University (CSU).

Cleveland Heights residents Jay Novak and his wife, Jade Novak, own both restaurants. They have lived on Superior Avenue near Euclid Heights Boulevard since 2009, and both are immigrants from southeastern Europe. Jade, 31, moved here when she was a teenager, and Jay, 39, moved here about 15 years ago. They met in Cleveland, and their first date was at La Cave du Vin on Coventry Road.

Jay is a civil engineer by profession, who learned about cooking as a child. His mother taught cooking classes, and that inspired him to get involved with food and cooking.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 7:09 PM, 04.30.2015

FutureHeights workshop seeks to help Heights business owners access capital

Small businesses are the backbone to a strong and flourishing community. They are destinations and landmarks that make our neighborhoods vibrant. As our local businesses prosper, we all prosper.

FutureHeights invites Heights businesses to attend the Accessing Capital Workshop on Monday, May 4, 4–6 p.m., at Motorcars Honda, 2953 Mayfield Road.

FutureHeights strives to recognize the investment of time, energy and money our small businesses make in the local economy, boosting the neighborhoods and improving the quality of life for those who live here. 

Access to capital, however, is an issue for many small businesses. In fact, the presumed upfront costs for upgrades or other expenses often prevent businesses from even analyzing their opportunities for improvement and growth.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 10:50 AM, 04.28.2015

Black Box Fix restaurant opens on Lee Road

Black Box Fix, a restaurant that features a variety of unique sandwiches, opened on March 27 on Lee Road, in the space previously occupied by Sweetie Fry. Eric Rogers and his wife, LaToya Rogers, own the new restaurant. Eric is the chef, while LaToya focuses on customer service. The Rogers previously ran Nevaeh Cuisine and Catering on South Green Road in South Euclid.

The couple has lived in South Euclid for the past five years, and have three children: two boys, ages 12 and 14, and a nine-month-old daughter. Eric, who’s 36, was born and raised in Cleveland, and graduated from Collinwood High School in 1997. After graduating, he took a job at University Hospitals, where he started as a clerk in the mailroom and kept moving up the ranks until he became the hospital’s supervisor of finance.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 10:32 AM, 04.14.2015

Plans are underway for 14th annual Discover Cedar Fairmount Festival

Plans are progressing for the 14th annual Discover Cedar Fairmount Festival, to be held on Sunday, Aug. 9, from noon to 5 p.m. The festival committee has added more entertainment and venues this year.

The ever-popular Arts and Crafts Sale, featuring space for local artists, crafters and vendors to sell their work, will be located on Lennox and Surrey roads, and in the Zoss the Swiss Baker’s parking lot.

Returning entertainers lined up so far for this year include Eclectic Vision and Get Back Duo. The festival committee is adding a stage this year, to highlight some of the entertainment, and is still seeking entertainers and musicians for this year’s festival.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 4:36 PM, 04.30.2015

At home in the Heights with Tony and Kathy Skettle

The Heights is full of great people—they knit us together, make us feel good, and serve our community. They are trustworthy, generous, and a positive reflection of this place we call home. 

Tony and Kathy Skettle are two of these people.   

They moved to Bushnell Road in University Heights in the spring of 1978. They raised four children—Nicole, Karl, Genevieve and Timothy—who grew up going to church at Gesu, playing outside until the streetlights came on, and lifeguarding at Purvis Park Pool. All graduated from Cleveland Heights High School and three earned degrees from Ohio University. And three are now homeowners in Cleveland Heights. 

Asked what they liked most about raising a family on Bushnell Road, Tony cited the proximity to schools, stores, library, recreation center and church.

Kathy praised the neighbors, and said, “We’ve always been blessed with the friendliest and most-caring neighbors.”

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 10:37 AM, 03.31.2015

Cedar Fairmount's monthly Second Fridays start April 10

Friday evening shopping used to be a tradition in many towns. It was a night to relax, shop and dine out after a busy work week.  Cedar Fairmount merchants have decided to restart the tradition by making the second Friday of each month special, beginning April 10.

The district’s merchants plan to extend their hours to remain open until 8 p.m. or later, and offer refreshments, entertainment or special saving in the stores, and the district’s restaurants plan to feature specials, events and other incentives.

The goal for each month’s Cedar Fairmount Second Friday is for the district’s businesses to offer unique opportunities and festivities for visitors.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 10:34 AM, 03.31.2015

Cedar Fairmount businesses are ready for spring

In Cleveland Heights’s Cedar Fairmount Business District, a new business has opened, and other businesses have added staff, expanded menus, and made other enhancements during the first part of 2015.

BowTie Medical Clinic has opened its doors at 12429 Cedar Road, Suite 25 (877-283-8863, Its board-certified medical practitioners offer same-day appointments, and a walk-in clinic that is open Monday through Friday, 4-8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., or by appointment.

This is the second clinic started by Dr. Firouz Daneshgari, principal founder, and Rob Winings and Sam Thomas, co-founders (the first is located in Broadway Heights), and they say their goal is to create a new model in health care, offering membership-based health services.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 10:31 AM, 03.31.2015

Serendipity is striving to make the world a better place

Serendipity Space, located at 2174 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, just south of Cedar Road, is truly unique. It was designed as a place where people can build connections, relationships and community and, in the process, change the world. Sue Wolpert had the idea for Serendipity a little more than a year ago. “I wanted to develop a place where people could discover ideas and create positive change through their ideas,” she said, “a place that will help us all have the life we want to have.”

After coming up with the concept, Wolpert organized a couple of events at Negative Space Gallery, which is located at East 38th Street and Superior Avenue. Then, one of her friends, Joan Greenwood, wanted to do a program called LovingKindness Week. Because it was a weeklong event, Wolpert realized she would need her own space.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:51 AM, 02.27.2015

CH native owns home-based yoga and Reiki center

Judith Eugene opened Loving Hands Yoga and Reiki in her house at 2959 Hampshire Road in Cleveland Heights in January 2011. Since then, the yoga studio and Reiki center has become very successful. Last year it won the Best of the Heights Award for Best Home-Based Business.

Eugene, 52, is a Cleveland Heights native. She grew up on Kenilworth Road and attended Coventry Elementary School, Roxboro Middle School and Heights High. She then went to Kent State University, where she majored in architecture. After graduating, she could not find a job in the Cleveland area, so she wound up moving to New York City and, later, northern Virginia.

“I always felt like Cleveland was my home,” she said. “And I kept coming back to visit.” She moved back to Cleveland Heights in 2010.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:48 AM, 02.27.2015

New shop on Coventry features works by local artists

A new store that sells artwork and other items created by local artisans opened on the south end of Coventry Road on Jan. 23. Jenny Goe and her husband, Steve Goe, are the owners of In the 216, located in the space formerly occupied by Phoenix Coffee and, before that, Arabica Coffee.

Jenny, 49, is an artist herself, while her husband works for Progressive Insurance. The couple, who just got married in December, currently live in Highland Heights, but hope to move to the Cleveland Heights area soon. Jenny lived in Shaker Heights, off of Coventry Road, for about 10 years. The couple’s dog—a mixed-breed terrier and retriever named Heaven—can often be found in the shop.

Jenny said that she and her husband had often thought about opening a shop where they could sell items made by local artists. “Because I make and sell jewelry, it was a natural idea to open a store,” she said. “And Coventry was always a cool place to go and hang out. So when I saw this space, I thought it was a really good fit. I think our store really fits Coventry, which features small shops and handmade items.”

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:14 AM, 02.03.2015

Cedar Fairmount welcomes two new businesses

Keller Williams Realty Group and an AT&T authorized retailer have opened their doors, adjacent to one another, on Cedar Road.

After a soft opening in early December, the Heights office of Keller Williams Greater Cleveland (KWHeights) is up and running at 12451 Cedar Road, with 14 agents working from the new office. The agents chose the Cedar Road location because of its “easy access” to the heart of Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Shaker Heights and University Circle.  

Keith Keifer, one of the agents, said, “Keller Williams offices are each independently owned and operated. We believe real estate is a local service industry and our customers always come first.” The agents can be reached at 877-477-SOLD.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 9:58 AM, 02.02.2015

Nighttown celebrates 50 years in the Heights

Nighttown, the restaurant located at the top of Cedar Hill in the Cedar Fairmount District of Cleveland Heights, is observering its 50th anniversary this month. On Feb. 13, the restaurant will host its biggest anniversary celebration, which will feature a concert by the Manhattan Transfer, the Grammy-Award-winning vocal quartet. In addition, the restaurant is putting together an all-star Cleveland band for a performance on Feb. 5, and is planning numerous other anniversary celebrations over the course of the year.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 4:25 PM, 01.29.2015