Heights Guitars closes its doors

Heights Guitars, the independent guitar store that had been a fixture in the Cedar Lee business district since 1992, has closed its doors.

A post on the store’s Facebook page stated in part: “We are closing, don't know how else to say it, our sister store is staying open and doing well, any consignments/repairs will need to be picked up, we're making the calls, or call us to set up time. Any gift certificates or trade slips can be used at the Toledo shop, or u can come pick up a check. . . .”

The closing came as a shock to the store’s employees. Darrell Branch, one of the store’s managers, said he got a call from the store’s owners on Monday, March 3, telling him they were closing the store. The next day, they began clearing everything out of the store.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 2:46 PM, 03.05.2014

Wine Spot embraces digital currency

Adam Fleischer, owner of the Wine Spot, is the first Cleveland Heights retailer to integrate Bitcoin payment processing into his business. Bitcoin, a digital cryptocurrency, is a complex and rapidly growing financial ecosystem with the potential to revolutionize the future of money.

Since Feb. 4, Wine Spot customers have been able to pay using Bitcoin, as the result of a partnership between Fleischer and Northeast Ohio Bitcoin consultancy CoinNEO.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 12:22 PM, 02.25.2014

Family-owned Zagara's renovates to meet new competition and modernize

Zagara’s Marketplace has undergone a sweeping makeover to modernize its facilities and improve customer service.

Sleek new freezer cases line the frozen food department, filled with tandoori chicken, ground bison and glistening loaves of rye bread. The towering mounds of fruit are gone, replaced by strategically located produce displays designed to entice the customer toward a vast new bulk foods section.

The message behind the new peanut butter grinders and dispensers full of quinoa and other grains is that Zagara’s remains confident in the Heights community.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 10:19 AM, 01.03.2014

Hetrick is new Coventry Village Special Improvement District executive director

The Coventry Village Special Improvement District (SID) has named Angela Hetrick its new executive director.

After her November appointment to the position, Hetrick’s first task was planning, coordinating and executing the first annual Coventry Village Holiday Festival, which took place Dec. 14. The festival featured free holiday events throughout the neighborhood, including appearances by Coventry Claus, Cleveland favorite Mr. Jingeling, and an "Elf" movie marathon at the Centrum Theater.

Steve Presser, the owner of Big Fun and the former Coventry Village SID executive director said, “We are really excited for Coventry Village to have Angela Hetrick take the position of the executive director.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 2:32 PM, 01.02.2014

White Cloud Pilates celebrates 20 years in Cleveland Heights

Troy McCarty, local resident and owner of White Cloud Studio (WCS), is celebrating more than 20 years in the Cedar Fairmount neighborhood of Cleveland Heights. McCarty began teaching Pilates in 1989, drawing on his professional dance career and his own Pilates training. Since then, he has grown his original Lakewood studio and opened studios in Cleveland Heights and Chagrin Falls. He has 14 coaches and an active teacher training program. 

White Cloud Studios boasts a wide range of equipment to accommodate an increasing number of Pilates devotees. WCS has spread Pilates not only throughout Greater Cleveland, but also in Canada, Cuba, Portugal, Italy, England and China by way of McCarty-trained coaches. McCarty named the studio for “the big white clouds in the sky and the way they float so gracefully.” 

Many of White Cloud’s clients use Pilates as an alternative to physical therapy. Rose Metzger, a Cleveland Clinic endocrinologist, began Pilates as a last-ditch effort to ease persistent low back pain.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 2:27 PM, 01.02.2014

Vero Bistro serves authentic-style pizza

When most people think of pizza, they think about the kind of pizza served by the large chains across the U.S. It has a relatively thick crust, with tomato sauce, cheese and maybe sausage or pepperoni. But the pizza at Vero Bistro, located on Cedar Road in the Cedar Fairmount Business District, is quite different. It’s pizza napoletana, or Neapolitan pizza.

Neapolitan pizza is the original style of pizza, first introduced in Naples, Italy, back in the late 18th century. “It was originally street food,” said Marc-Aurele Buholzer, the owner of Vero. “It was basically peasant food.” Neapolitan pizza has a very thin crust, made with super-fine flour. It also features San Marzano tomatoes, which are grown on the volcanic plains south of Mount Vesuvius, and mozzarella cheese. It has to be baked in in a wood-burning oven at 900 degrees for 90 seconds.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 2:24 PM, 01.02.2014

Salamis to Troops effort continues through January

Mister Brisket’s goal for this extended holiday season is to send 200 salamis to troops serving in troubled spots around the world.

In what has become a holiday tradition, now in its fifth year, the Cleveland Heights butcher shop prepares and ships salamis to members of the armed forces.

Customers purchase the salamis, and the shop sends them to a service member specified by the customer, or to one on a list compiled by Mister Brisket, suggested by community members.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 2:57 PM, 12.30.2013

Longtime family restaurateurs open Joey's on Lee Road

Will Leonetti and his brother, Michael Leonetti, are the owners of Joey’s Bistro Bar Italiano, the new restaurant located at 2195 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights’s Cedar Lee Business District. The two brothers also own Joey’s Restaurant in Solon, and they formerly owned Joey’s Restaurant in Chagrin Falls, which burned down in November 2011.

The two brothers come from a family that has a long history in the Cleveland-area food business. “Our family has been in the food and restaurant business for more than 100 years,” Michael said.

“Our great-grandparents originally had fruit and vegetable stands in the West Side Market back in the early 1900s,” Michael explained. “Our great-grandfather was the first person to import bananas in gas chambers so they could ripen while coming from Africa to the U.S., and our grandfather was the first person to bring pizza to Cleveland.”

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 10:32 AM, 12.03.2013

Coventry Village plans Dec. 14 holiday festival

The Coventry Village neighborhood will host a free, family-friendly holiday festival from 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, Dec. 14.  

Events include free movies, music performances, children’s activities, an appearance from Mr. Jingeling and, of course, shopping in one-of-a-kind stores that carry unique gifts and offer an intimate shopping experience.

"We haven't had an official Coventry Village Winter Holiday Festival before," said Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun.

"It's exciting for the Coventry Village merchants to throw a winter holiday festival for our customers and our neighbors," Presser said. "We're excited because of the variety and diversity of the events planned. The festival will entertain people of all ages and walks of life, as Coventry Village has successfully done for all these years."

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Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 10:49 AM, 12.02.2013

Bremec on the Heights now open year-round, plans Dec. 11 fundraiser

Bremec on the Heights, a Cleveland Heights fixture since opening in 2009, will now stay open year-round. To celebrate the change, Bremec will hold a one-day fundraiser for the Cleveland Heights-based Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) on Dec. 11.

Previously, Bremec closed at the end of its annual Christmas tree sale. The decision to stay open year-round recognizes the evolving needs of urban/suburban homeowners for everything from landscaping materials to garden décor to organic gardening resources.

The HRRC fundraiser will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.

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Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 10:38 AM, 12.02.2013

Cedar Fairmount shops offer holiday activities

Cedar Fairmount merchants are planning various events and activities to inspire residents to get into the holiday spirit, and to benefit the community.

On Saturday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Abstract Hair Salon will offer special holiday pricing on merchandise, including electric tools and jewelry. Abstract’s new stylist, Dakota, will offer $10 manicures, and Abstract will serve coffee and cookies.

The salon will collect nonperishable food for the Cleveland Food Bank during the months of November and December. Patrons who donate nonperishable food items will be eligible for extra customer rewards. The food will be delivered in January to help restock the food bank after the busy holiday season.

On Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m., nine-time Tony award-winner Tommy Tune will perform at Nighttown to benefit Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District's streetscape project.

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Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 12:07 PM, 11.19.2013

Holiday Gift Guide: For the person who has it all

Find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. Most will gift wrap or ship your items, too. Here are some of our favorites:

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow: Charming inspiration book illustrated with classic Golden Book artwork ($9.99, Mac’s Backs).

One-year, 12-issue subscription to The Funny Times, Cleveland Heights’s one and only cartoon and humor newspaper, now in its 28th year ($26.00, The Funny Times).

Cleveland Cinemas Gift Card. Special holiday perks with various purchase levels: free large popcorn coupon with a $25 gift card purchase, free large popcorn and drink with $50 gift card purchase, two free tickets with a $100 gift card purchase (Cedar Lee Theatre).

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Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 11:23 AM, 11.05.2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts more than $150

Find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. Most will gift wrap or ship your items, too. Here are some of our favorites:

Double wrap brass and pearl jewelry (bracelet, $160.00; matching earrings, $80.00, Blush Boutique).

Fine leather shoes hand crafted in Peru. (Lounge Shoe $134.00, Emilio Chukka $168.00, Revive).

Bracelet Sets in Sterling Silver ($154.00, Antrobus Designs).

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Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 11:16 AM, 11.05.2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts $50 to $150

Find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. Most will gift wrap or ship your items, too. Here are some of our favorites:

Charms, in sterling silver with letters, symbols and gemstones ($30.00 to $100.00 each, Antrobus Designs).

LUG, easy-to-clean, lightweight bags—from small ones for jewelry to weekenders ($30.00 to $118.00, Simply Charming).

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Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 10:57 AM, 11.05.2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts under $50

Find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. Most will gift wrap or ship your items, too. Here are some of our favorites:

Coaster Set ($12.00), Placemat Set ($46.00, Jubilee Gifts).

Big Fun Wine Glass, holds an entire standard-size bottle of wine ($12.50, Big Fun).

Thermal Mug ($14.99, MotoPhoto Cedar Center).

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Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 10:48 AM, 11.05.2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts $10 or less

Find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. Most will gift wrap or ship your items, too. Here are some of our favorites:

Made-from-scratch renditions of favorite nostalgic treats: pocket pies (house-made Pop-tarts with fresh fillings, such as cherry and blueberry, $2.00 each); faux-ho's $3.00 each (house-made Ho-Ho's, $3.00 each); cream canoes (house-made Twinkies, $3.00 each, Katz Club Diner).

Knock Knock Papergoods: fun and functional pads featuring everything from the ubiquitous OMG to just silly 'Passive Aggressive Notes' ($3.75 to $6.75, Simply Charming).

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Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 12:07 PM, 11.04.2013

Revive celebrates seventh anniversary Oct. 19

Revive, Cleveland Heights's independent, fair trade clothing boutique, celebrates its seven-year anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Lisa Dunn, Revive's founder, said, “We are really proud to be celebrating seven years of offering hand-crafted, socially responsible collections at our Cleveland Heights store. This has been a labor of love and we are successful thanks to our loyal customers and the support from the community.”

Revive’s will mark its anniversary by offering patrons gifts with purchase, and the chance to participate in drawings for free merchandise.

The store will also debut a new line of leather shoes handcrated in Peru, Nisolo Shoes.

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Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 10:39 AM, 10.17.2013

Four and Twenty to open on Cedar Road

Sean Fagan and Kim Scholten are relocating and expanding their vintage antiques business, Four and Twenty, from Cleveland’s Larchmere neighborhood to 12433 Cedar Road in the historic Cedar Fairmount Business District.

The owners plan to open in their new location before Thanksgiving, in a space almost twice the size of the Larchmere store. In their mix of products, Fagan and Scholten focus on Industrial Arts, significant rural pieces and Mid-century Modern.

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Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 12:12 PM, 10.31.2013

Walmart leaves Severance for Oakwood

Walmart closed its store at Severance Town Center on Oct. 15 and opened a new “supercenter” in Oakwood Commons the next day. Oakwood Commons is located on Warrensville Center Road in South Euclid, on the site of the former Oakwood Country Club.

The new store has a floor area of 180,000 square feet, compared to 126,000 at Severance, and, unlike its former location, features a full-line grocery section. The Oakwood store was designed to be the first Walmart store to be certified through the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

While the new store will please many area residents, offering them a wide array of products at low prices, it also raises two important issues for the community.

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Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 10:12 AM, 10.22.2013

Diamond's Flowers: a Coventry fixture since 1934

As its second-oldest store, Diamond’s Flowers is a fixture on Coventry Road. Located at 1840 Coventry, it has been in the same location since 1934—longer than any store on the street.

Joe and Mary Diamond owned Diamond’s until 1969, when they sold it to Max Feris and his wife, Thelma Woods. The current owner is Roseana Bass, who lives in Richmond Heights.

While attending Regina High School in South Euclid, her guidance counselor suggested that she become a florist. “I said, ‘Are you out of your mind?’” Bass recalled. After high school, Bass attended Cleveland State University, and then started working at Diamond’s in 1985.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 6:59 PM, 10.01.2013

Piccadilly is named Best New Business in 2013 Best of the Heights Awards

Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt, an all-organic frozen yogurt shop opened in March by brothers Cosmin and Adrian Bota in Coventry Village, edged out finalists Katz Club Diner and Pinwheel Kids to win the Best New Business award in the 2013 Best of the Heights Awards.

From May through August, Heights residents voted for their favorite Heights businesses in 22 categories, including best new business. Each year FutureHeights—a nonprofit dedicated to promoting civic engagement in the Heights through information, education, and advocacy, and the publisher of the Heights Observer community news—conducts the Best of the Heights survey to recognize the unique attributes of locally owned businesses in the Heights, and their contributions to the local economy.

This year, FutureHeights recognized three businesses that have consistently been among the top vote-getters in the Best of the Heights since the contest began nine years ago. The Continuous Excellence Award winners are Jazzercise, Washington & Lee Service and Whole Foods Market.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 1:43 PM, 09.24.2013

Fashion-forward thinking keeps local designer a cut above

The Internet has given way to the ease and convenience of shopping online. With a click of a button, customers can view, purchase and have merchandise delivered to their homes. But what does the rise in online shopping mean for traditional retailers? As customers have become accustomed to the effortless process of purchasing online, some retailers find it difficult to compete, leaving many small, independently owned businesses pressed to bring in customers, and closing down within a year of opening.

Others, however, see an opportunity to change the methods of traditional retailing. DruChristine Fabrics & Design, at 1623 Lee Road, in Cleveland Heights, has successfully cleared the one-year benchmark by offering more than fashionable merchandise to clients. The success of this boutique comes by offering a lifestyle.

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 3:48 PM, 08.30.2013

La'Sheek Resale Shop opens on Mayfield Road

In May, twin sisters Gennette Tanks and Annette Green opened La’Sheek Resale Shop on Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights. The sisters had wanted to own a business for a long time.

“We have had a resale shop on our mind for ages,” Tanks said. Green added, “The idea was to have something to do after retirement."

Tanks and Green fulfilled their dreams when they found the space that now houses La’Sheek. The name was inspired by boutiques that the pair discovered on a trip to Paris. For five months, the sisters decorated La’Sheek and collected resale items.

Now, their colorful shop includes furnishings and household items, ranging from sofas to knickknacks. The store also sells clothing for men, women and children, as well as shoes and fashion accessories.

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 2:35 PM, 08.30.2013

A deep love of pets fuels Rainbow Vets

Linda Mitchell grew up on a farm in Lordstown, Ohio. Her family did not have much money and could not afford to provide proper care for their animals. “I love puppies and kittens, but on the farm, the animals kept dying,” Mitchell said. “It was terrible.”

This experience inspired her to get a degree in veterinary medicine. She attended Hiram College, majoring in biology with a minor in environmental studies. She then went to The Ohio State University, where she earned her doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1998.

After graduation, Mitchell began working at Blue Cross Animal Hospital, which was located in Cleveland Heights. In 2002, she left Blue Cross and started the Rainbow Mobile Vet Clinic. Two years later, she opened the Rainbow Veterinary Clinic on Noble Road in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 3:25 PM, 08.29.2013

CH boutique celebrates one-year anniversary with special events week of Aug. 11

The Internet has given way to the ease and convenience of shopping online. With a click of a button, customers can view, purchase and have merchandise delivered to their home. But what does the rise in online shopping mean for traditional retailers? As customers have become accustomed to the effortless process of purchasing online, some retailers find it difficult to compete, leaving many small, independently owned businesses pressed to bring in customers, and closing down within a year of opening. 

Others, however, see the situation as an opportunity to change the methods of traditional retailing. DruChristine Fabrics & Design, at 1623 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, has successfully cleared the one-year mark by offering more than just fashionable merchandise to clients.

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 4:34 PM, 08.09.2013

City Buddha: Coventry's exotic marketplace

Back in 1997, Larry Collins was going through one of those transitional phases in life. He had been booking bands at Peabody’s DownUnder for more than a decade, but he was getting tired of the music business and felt it was time for a change.

“I needed to shake some stuff loose,” he said. Collins decided to go to Indonesia. He traveled around Southeast Asia for a few months, and he brought some Indonesian items with him when he returned to Cleveland. It turned out that his friends loved the things he had gotten in Indonesia, mostly sculptures, so he went back six weeks later and filled a large container with many items, including jewelry, clothing and artwork.

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 4:15 PM, 07.31.2013

DuoHome opens in Cleveland Heights

Business owners Tim Kempf and Scott Suskowicz moved their design and furnishing retail store, DuoHome, to 3479 Fairmount Blvd. in Cleveland Heights in April. DuoHome relocated from Cleveland’s West Side to join other “like-minded retailers" in the Fairmount Taylor Business District. DuoHome is neighbor to two other home stores, Paul Hamlin Interiors and Paysage. “This is a dedicated design block,” said Suskowicz.

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 4:07 PM, 07.31.2013

City Buddha online photo contest

Inspired by its owners' love of travel, City Buddha has launched a "Focus and Inspiration Photo Contest" on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Original photo entries can be of anything that inspires, from family to the outdoors.

The contest began on July 18 and runs through Aug. 15. To enter, go to the contest entry tab located online at, or submit photos to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag, #CityBuddhaCLE.

Owner Larry Collins said, “The competition is a great way for the public to share their inspiration and perhaps inspire another in the process. There’s beauty and inspiration all around us. We’d love to see your unique perspective. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to enter. Uploaded photos can be images taken with your phone or a digital shot taken with a camera.”

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 10:30 AM, 07.30.2013

July 1-7 is Independents Week in the Heights

The cities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and FutureHeights have declared the week of July 1–7 Independents Week.

“It’s a time to reflect on the importance of economic democracy and community self-determination by celebrating the nation’s locally owned, independent businesses and the stake each citizen has in shaping their home town’s future,” said Jennifer Rockne, AMIBA director.

“FutureHeights invites Heights residents to help celebrate by shopping at our many locally owned, independent businesses in the Heights,” said Clare Taft, president of the FutureHeights Board of Directors. “When we ask people to name their favorite restaurant or shop during the Best of the Heights Awards, they usually name locally owned businesses. Owners of these businesses are our friends and neighbors. They embody the spirit of entrepreneurism and individuality in our community.”

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 3:26 PM, 07.01.2013

The ongoing evolution of Record Revolution

Record Revolution is a Coventry institution. Located on the west side of the street between Lancashire and Hampshire roads, the store opened in 1967. More than 45 years later, at a time when record stores are a dying breed, Record Revolution is still there and still doing a brisk business. As Rob Pryor, the store’s general manager said, “We are one of the oldest independent record stores still operating in the country. That’s pretty amazing!”

The store, founded by Peter Schliewin, quickly became a key part of Cleveland’s burgeoning rock and roll scene. WMMS radio, which was one of the top FM rock stations in the country during the 1970s, based a lot of its programming on the store’s sales. Hundreds of rock artists made in-store appearances there, including Lou Reed, Patti Smith and Elvis Costello. The walls of the store—which, back then, took up three storefronts on Coventry, including the current location as well as the spaces now occupied by the Crazy Mullets beauty salon—were covered with rock stars’ autographs, including those of Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, the Who, Genesis and Mott the Hoople. According to Pryor, several plywood walls covered with signatures still exist, but they are currently in storage.

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 12:00 PM, 07.02.2013

A store that wants to change the world

From the outside, Revolution Books—located on Mayfield Road just a few doors down from Coventry—resembles a typical bookstore. The windows are full of books, along with a T-shirt and a poster or two; and inside, the shelves are full of books. But unlike most bookstores, Revolution Books has a mission that goes beyond selling books—way beyond.

The store’s mission is to change the world. “The world doesn’t have to be this way,” said Norm Karl, who works at the store. “People are being shot by the police. Every 15 seconds a woman is battered or raped in this country. Some 10 million children die every year in the Third World from diseases and other causes that could be avoided. Then there’s the whole state of the environment, which is in pretty bad shape.”

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 11:39 AM, 07.02.2013

S.O.F.E. Wholefoods Grill offers healthy dining options

Tanya “Ty” Richardson, a Cleveland-area native, serves healthy meals at The S.O.F.E. Wholefoods Grill on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.

Richardson, who developed an interest in fitness at a young age, used to operate S.O.F.E. (Studio One Fitness Events), a gym in Bedford. Richardson said that her clients were interested in adopting healthy eating habits to accompany their fitness regimens, so she closed the gym and opened a restaurant with the same name. “I decided I wanted to get more into the food than the exercise,” she said.

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 10:23 AM, 07.02.2013

Doug Katz opens new diner on Lee Road

Doug Katz, the chef who owns fire food & drink on Shaker Square and Provenance at the Cleveland Museum of Art, has opened a new restaurant in Cleveland Heights. Called The Katz Club Diner, the restaurant is located in the twin diner cars at 1975 Lee Road, across the street from Zagara’s Marketplace. Katz held a soft opening prior to the diner's grand opening on May 28.

Several other chefs attempted to run restaurants in the historic building modeled after railroad dining cars; but ultimately all failed. Katz, who lives on East Overlook, the street adjacent to the restaurant, believes he can succeed. “I live nearby,” he said, “and I watched all of the incarnations. I watched it, and I watched it, and I watched it fail.” When he found out the building was available, he worked out a deal.

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 2:59 PM, 05.22.2013

Nighttown opens new four-season patio and dog-friendly court

Nighttown’s award-winning outdoor dining space has just gotten even better. Brendan Ring, the restaurant’s owner, purchased a small portion of the parking lot to the rear of the property from the city. Included in the deal was the property on which his original outdoor bar and patio (Stephen's Green) sat, which the city had leased to Ring. “An added bonus,” said Ring, “is that the city will totally repave the parking lot in late July. It’s pretty beat up right now.”

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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 05.30.2013

Two new businesses set up shop on Noble Road

It used to be a grocery store, then a thrift shop. Most recently, it served as an Obama campaign headquarters, but for long intervals in between, the building remained empty. Now Fabuless Finds Resale Boutique and Hypersonic Coffee & Beverage divide the 2,000-square-foot space at the corner of Ardmore and Noble roads in Cleveland Heights.

They join a small strip including Serenity Styling Salon, Pipe’N Hot Grill, Free Styles salon, and MGW Resource Center, a nonprofit offering counseling and mentoring opportunities to teens. The newcomers’ April arrival marks a welcome resurgence in a neighborhood where many businesses have departed over the last decade.

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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 2:39 PM, 05.30.2013

New businesses open in the Heights

Several new businesses have opened their doors in the Heights since the start of the new year. Among them are:

Cedar Fairmount Business District:

Cleveland Chiropractic and Wellness Center
Dr. Emily Arnold Wheat has relocated her 12-year-old practice, which focuses on holistic health care, to the Heights Medical Building and is accepting new patients.
2460 Fairmount Blvd., Unit B
Open by appointment.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 4:15 PM, 04.30.2013

Best of the Heights now accepting nominations

The Best of the Heights Awards, an annual recognition program presented by FutureHeights, is accepting 2013 nominations for each of its 22 award categories.

Write-in nominations will be accepted until June 15, at which time the finalists in each category will be determined. During the months of July and August, voters will have the opportunity to elect the Best of the Heights winners from the top nominees.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 4:16 PM, 04.30.2013

Mitchell's Chocolate celebrates 74 years

Bill Mitchell remembers when his parents, Chris and Penelope, opened Mitchell's Chocolates. It was located on Coventry Road then, next door to the Centrum theatre.

Back then, candy was not available at the movie theatre, so residents of Cleveland Heights would stop in Mitchell's to buy some chocolate to eat during the feature, and then go see the movie.

Now Bill Mitchell is the owner of the family business, which he describes as "a tradition in Cleveland Heights for 74 years." It moved from Coventry to Lee Road in 1991.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 4:35 PM, 04.30.2013

At 50, Severance faces challenges

Heights residents are now accustomed to the 1960s-vintage Severance Town Center in our midst, though the site was still the lushly landscaped 161-acre estate of John L. Severance as late as the 1950s, decades after the surrounding residential neighborhoods were developed.

In 1953, Severance Millikin, a nephew, hired the Austin Company to develop plans for future use of the Severance property. Austin opened its since-demolished headquarters there in 1960 and the Winmar Company of Seattle broke ground in 1962 for Ohio's first automobile-era enclosed shopping mall. The center opened in 1963, anchored by branches of old-line Cleveland department stores, Halle's and Higbee's. Most perimeter properties—those located outside Severance Circle—were still unoccupied. Austin's campus, in the northeast corner of the perimeter, was the exception.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 4:21 PM, 04.30.2013

Scene magazine names Heights businesses among Cleveland's best

Scene magazine has announced its its annual Best of Cleveland list for 2013, and named many Heights businesses among the honorees, as voted on by its readers.

Among those honored were the Cedar Lee Theatre, which Scene described as "the most unique movie theater in the Cleveland area," and Coventry's La Cave Du Vin—"if you were to design the ideal wine bar on paper, it likely would look a lot like La Cave Du Vin," noted Scene.

Heights winners include:

Best Movie Theater: Cedar Lee

Best Place for Spoken Word: B-Side Liquor Lounge

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 12:15 PM, 04.16.2013

Study shows increase in storefront vacancies, differences among districts

The number of vacant storefronts in Cleveland Heights has increased by about 6 percent since 2009, from 11.05 percent to 17.59 percent. Some commercial districts have seen a dramatic increase in vacancies, while others have remained the same or decreased slightly. Coventry Village, Fairmount Taylor, and Cedar Fairmount have the lowest vacancy rate, while Noble Monticello has the highest. While the vacancy rate for Severance has remained relatively constant, that is expected to change once Walmart leaves for Oakwood Commons in South Euclid.

The study, conducted by nonprofit FutureHeights, sought to measure the health of the city’s commercial districts and the effects of the recession by counting vacancy rates. FutureHeights conducted a similar study in 2009 by walking each commercial district and counting the number of vacant and occupied storefronts. For the 2013 study, FutureHeights worked with the city’s former economic development director, Howard Thompson, to create a database of storefront properties in the commercial districts and, again, walk each district to count the number of occupied and vacant storefronts.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 10:41 AM, 03.26.2013

Pinwheel Kids to open in former Sunbeam space

There is a quaint little cluster of shops in Cleveland Heights on Fairmount Boulevard, between South Taylor and Queenston roads. One of them, Sunbeam–A Shop for Children, has been offering clothes and gifts for children in the Heights at this location for nearly 17 years, and in the community since 1915.

Earlier this year, Vocational Guidance Services (VGS) Sunbeam Board, the nonprofit organization that ran the shop, decided it was no longer within its mission to run a retail shop and announced it was closing Sunbeam. The board is redirecting its awareness-building and fundraising efforts to special events and activities, such as Fiesta on 55th and its holiday boutique. Members of the Sunbeam's board of directors will continue to provide support to VGS, but without the shop.

Fortunately, longtime manager Janet Nelson decided to purchase the store and carry on its tradition. “It was a bit scary,” she said, “but I have 30 years of experience and many loyal customers.”

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 11:05 AM, 03.26.2013

An unlikely restauranteur creates a delicious spot north of Mayfield

Jim Barle is something of a serial entrepreneur. “I’ve never—quote, unquote—had a job in my life,” said the humble 43-year-old, with a smile, as he took a brief respite from a typically busy weekday.

The 1987 Cleveland Heights High School graduate owned a successful landscaping business for more than 20 years, which he later sold, and currently owns several local properties, including the iconic Rockefeller building. Even childhood classmates recall he had a penchant for business from a very early age. His most recent venture, Barlē Soup & Sandwich, just north of Mayfield Road on Lee Boulevard, is a labor of love—love of the Heights, that is.

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 1:01 PM, 02.28.2013

Heights entrepreneur receives JumpStart funding

Cleveland Heights resident and entrepreneur Ron Cass, president and founder of Big River, has received a $250,000 funding commitment from JumpStart, the Cleveland-based business accelerator.

Cass, a Chicago native, is a 1984 systems engineering graduate of Case Western Reserve University (CRWU). He founded Big River in 2011 following a career in IT focusing on artificial intelligence.

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 12:45 PM, 02.28.2013

Hessler on the Heights opens on Lee Road

The pop-up holiday store at 2174 Lee Road—Hessler on the Heights—is here to stay. The gift shop and gallery, which had its official opening on Feb. 10, sells the works of individual artists, including tie-dye, jewelry, teas and herbs, clothing, accessories, edibles, cards, journals, salsas, soaps, botanicals and wood products.

Among the artists whose work is included are Michelle Sokol (tie-dye), Faith McFluff (clothing), Marci Zabell, Beth Lewin (pottery), Joan Diouf (botanicals), Blaze Gourmet, Carol Van Diest (Krew Designs), Faustino Enriquez, Cecie Mack, Eve 'n' Stephen and Carl Jones. "There's something here for everyone," said Sokol, a longtime Heights resident.

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 11:08 AM, 02.19.2013

Business groups launch March focus on small business in the Heights

Small businesses employ more than half of the national work force and are crucial to our economy, as was frequently mentioned during last year's presidential election.

Our region's largest small business support organization, the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), is working with the 14 local chamber of commerce partners in its COSE Affiliate Program to launch a year-long intiative called The Year of the Small Business. Throughout 2013, COSE will work with each chamber partner to hold a month-long celebration in its community. COSE is launching the year-long program by teaming up with the Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce (HRCC) to focus on small businesses in the HRCC service area of Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Shaker Heights, Richmond Heights, South Euclid, and Lyndhurst during the month of March.

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 12:57 PM, 02.28.2013

Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt opens on Coventry

On Saturday, March 23, the first all-organic frozen yogurt shop in Ohio, Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt, opened its doors at the site of the Grog Shop’s first Coventry Village location, just south of Mayfield Road. Brothers Cosmin (Cos) and Adrian Bota, first-generation Americans, chose Coventry for its combination of pedestrian-friendly streets, vibrant storefronts and eclectic neighbors.

“I like the idea of people walking up to the business,” said Adrian. “It reminds me of New York City. I like the diversity here. I said to my brother, ‘let’s do something where people are enjoying community and the arts—let’s be part of urban renewal.'”

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 12:50 PM, 02.28.2013

Katz Club Diner is set to open this spring

Why would an exceedingly busy man like Doug Katz take on yet another huge project—transforming a vacant restaurant on Lee Road into old-time diner and bar cars of the 1940s. His plate already seems to be overflowing.   

Katz, owner/chef of fire food & drink in Shaker Square and chef/partner of the recently opened Provenance restaurant and café in the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), responded with three cogent reasons. First is his passion for cooking good food and sharing it with others. Second, his catering business, which currently operates out of fire’s back kitchen, has outgrown its space. Third, he is motivated to do something for his staff and for the community in which he and his family live.

Katz has been cooking since he was a child, when he hard-boiled his first egg at age five. He is a friendly and genial host who enjoys being part of his guests’ dining experience—greeting them and chatting about the food they’ve ordered.

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 12:30 PM, 01.31.2013

Coventry Village plans events to make last-minute shopping fun

On Friday, Dec. 21, and Saturday, Dec. 22, Coventry Village Special Improvement District (CVSID) invites community members to participate in community caroling. Carolers will visit stores and restaurants throughout the district from 5 to 9 p.m. CVSID will serve hot chocolate and provide light-up items to participants.

From 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 23, Coventry Claus will visit the street to spread good cheer. As you might expect, Coventry Claus exudes the quirky, eclectic nature of the street itself.

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Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 12:07 PM, 12.21.2012

Engineering good food at the Stone Oven

Who’d have thought that a couple of engineering majors attending Cleveland State University in the 1970s would eventually preside over a string of specialty restaurants that boast a storied history in the Heights—all based on a passion for bread. Certainly not John Emerman and Tatyana Rehn, the once-married couple who own Stone Oven Artisan Bakery and Restaurant, but that’s exactly what they’ve accomplished over the past couple decades.

“We were both mechanical engineers and didn’t particularly like working in that field. We wanted to do something a little more creative and fun,” said Emerman.

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Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 12:12 PM, 12.18.2012

Mister Brisket continues tradition of sending 'Salamis to the Troops'

"My son Ben is doing his third tour in Afghanistan. Ben is the type of young man [who] thinks of others, not himself. When he finished school, his classmates applauded and stood when his name was announced and he walked across stage.  It was a small community, and every single one of them seemed to have a story to tell about some kindness he'd done for them.

I was not surprised at all when he decided to join the military. It suited his nature.

During his first tour, his eardrum was shattered. During his second, he was injured by shrapnel from an IED. When he came home, he never complained. I've prayed constantly for his safe return during this last tour. My means are limited so I can't do too much for him. If you could add him to the list of soldiers receiving salamis, it would be so deeply appreciated.

Thanks so much—a proud Mom,
Linda (last name and location withheld by request)"

Ben is the first soldier to receive a box of salami this holiday season through Mister Brisket’s Salamis to the Troops campaign. Hank Kornblut, owner of Mister Brisket on Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights, started the program in 2009 when a special request from a customer got him thinking.

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Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 11:01 AM, 12.04.2012

AutoZone opens Cleveland Heights store

AutoZone, a leading retailer and distributor of au­tomotive replacement parts and accessories, celebrated the grand opening of its new Cleveland Heights store, at 3900 Mayfield Road (entrance on Wilmar Road), on Nov. 18.

Cleveland Heights Mayor Edward J. Kelley, Vice Mayor Dennis Wilcox and Council Member Jason Stein assisted Curtis Stanley, store manager, and Deandre Walton, an employee, in cutting the ribbon to open the store.

AutoZone worked with the city to identify a compatible property that would meet its needs, and on a design that would complement neighborhood aesthetics.

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Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 11:12 AM, 12.04.2012

Handmade gift ideas guaranteed to please

What could be better at this busy time of year than checking off items on your gift list while reducing your stress level at the same time? Handmade gifts can do just that. Small repetitive motions, such as those required for knitting or needlepointing, actually have meditative qualities that may reduce heart rate.

Fortunately, folks in the Heights have three nearby independent boutiques that are bursting with ideas for handmade gift giving—Wool and Willow, Fine Points and Bolt & Spool can help you hand craft a gift that is sure to please the recipient or even become a treasured heirloom.
While it may be too late to start knitting a sweater, there are smaller items available at each shop that are ideal for last minute creation.

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 9:58 AM, 11.30.2012

Pipe'n Hot Grill celebrates two years

Angela Coleman was a successful cosmetologist for 12 years. During her time as a master stylist at Maxelle's International Salon and Spa in Cleveland, the salon was rated as one of the best in the United States. Even though she worked in the beauty industry for more than a decade, Coleman always knew she wanted to open a restaurant.

Coleman, who lives in Cleveland with her husband, Jimmy, and their nine-year-old daughter Stesia, has always loved cooking and working with people. She wanted to open a restaurant serving what she knew best—seafood. On Dec. 18, 2010, she opened Pipe'n Hot Grill on Noble Road.

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 9:27 AM, 11.30.2012

Family tradition and cuisine at the Mad Greek

You could call Chris Chopra, owner of the Mad Greek Restaurant on Fairmount Boulevard, an improbable restaurateur. The former golf pro assumed ownership of the restaurant, essentially by default, following the death of his father, Loki, in 2002.

“It wasn’t something I chose to do. When my dad became ill, it was kind of a no-brainer,” said Chopra. “I didn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter. It was either that or the restaurant was probably going to shut down.”

Chopra hadn’t been involved in the business previously, other than working there during junior high and high school, and again for a short time after he graduated from college.

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 7:29 PM, 11.29.2012

Cedar Fairmount SID annual meeting Oct. 9 at Nighttown

The public is invited to attend the annual meeting of the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District, to be held tomorrow, Oct. 9, at Nighttown, 12387 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m.

At 10:30 a.m., Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc., will give a talk on "University Circle: The Neighborhood without Borders."

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 1:17 PM, 10.08.2012

Career insurance man thrives in the Heights

One could say that the Heights area has been good to Stan Harris. With his laser-sharp focus on helping people managa the risks of everyday life, Harris has been helping clients since 1988.

“I help people manage the unexpected and plan for their dreams,” said Stan Harris, who on this day sits comfortably in his office above Starbucks on Cedar Road, which he’s occupied for more than 21 years.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 1:24 PM, 10.31.2012

Stock up on flu season immune system boosters

The leaves have fallen. The kids are sneezing. Flu season is just around the corner. A few minutes of pantry, fridge and medicine cabinet preparation and you’ll have nothing to fear.

Try kale. It is high in fiber, vitamin A and calcium. Braise it in some broth or white wine, add it to a smoothie, or make some kale chips. Not a fan? Try Brussels sprouts, which are rich in protein and vitamin C. Check the Internet for some fantastic Thanksgiving recipes.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 1:13 PM, 10.31.2012

Holiday Gift Guide: More than $150

The Heights Observer wants to help you think outside the box. You can find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. And most will gift wrap or ship your items. Here are some of our favorites:

More than $150

Mariposa Cheese Board. ($154, Jubilee Gifts in the Heights)

12 Yoga Classes to help with those New Year’s resolutions. ($162,

Cameras. ($189.00 and up, Cedar Center MotoPhoto)

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 12:57 PM, 10.31.2012