David Lavelle, a financial advisor in Cleveland Heights, began his investing career at an early age, when he wanted a five-speed bicycle and his father told him to “get a job!” Lavelle saved $10 a week delivering the Plain Dealer to 50 households in the Heights, and not only was able to buy his bicycle but had money leftover to invest for college. He learned at an early age the value of owning shares in a good company over a meaningful period of time.
Aharon Denton Photography of University Heights is partnering with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to offer a photographic incentive in return for a donation to the food bank.
Each $50 donation can provide up to 200 meals. If you donate $50 to the food bank by June 15, Aharon Denton Photography will in turn provide a professional photography session and a 16-by-20-inch wall portrait.
“We are very excited to be partnering with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and providing families with this great incentive to have their family portrait created,” said Aharon Denton. “I am looking forward to meeting many new people through this drive to help stomp out hunger.”
On Saturday, May 10, Ten Thousand Villages in Cleveland Heights will host a World Fair Trade Day celebration, in recognition of the difference fair trade commerce makes in the lives of artisans. World Fair Trade Day is celebrated in more than 70 countries.
Events at the Cleveland Heights fair trade store will include free fair trade bananas donated by Mustard Seed in Akron, chocolate tastings with Equal Exchange, live music from local musicians, Henna by Jennifer, and a jewelry BOGO—just in time for Mother’s Day on May 11.
Laura Potter, store manager, said, “When customers choose to shop at Ten Thousand Villages, they play a vital role in a trading relationship where women earn income and dignity as they care for their children at home, artisans with physical disabilities find purpose, and children go to school instead of work. World Fair Trade Day allows us to celebrate all of the ways fair trade benefits artisans and customers.”
Lee’s Deli and Catering is a new food addition to the businesses on Noble Road.
The walls are freshly painted. The floor looks new. There’s a window where you can place your order, and chairs where you can wait. Located at 2847 Noble Road, it’s Jettie Lee Jr.’s place.
Lee calls it "home cooking fast food," which may seem a contradiction. Everything is made-to-order, so it’s not that fast. “If you want it right away you have to call ahead,” Lee said with a smile. The menu is extensive and includes potato skins, fried okra, bourbon-grilled salmon, fish sandwich, to name just a few items. All the fish and chicken are fresh-cut and made with Lee's own recipes.
“I always make community wherever I go,” said Jennifer Gerard, owner of the newly opened Cleveland Rocks and Beads shop in the Heights Rockefeller Building at 2499 Lee Blvd., in the space formerly occupied by Isle of Beads. This fair trade importer, whose wares include exotic beads, cabochons, crystals, gemstones and hand-carved wooden windows from Nepal, has been in the business for 20 years, though not at that location. Experienced beaders eagerly await the shop’s opening on May 2, as do beginners who can buy and learn at the same time.
2118 S. Taylor Road
Matthew Adkins has opened an Edible Arrangements store in Cleveland Heights. Edible Arrangements, an international franchise, offers fresh fruit arrangements. This is the sixth Greater Cleveland Edible Arrangements location owned by Adkins, and it opened on April 28.
Rachael Evans, who lives in Cleveland Heights and is a sophomore at Kent State University, has been selected as an intern in the College Works Painting program. She is learning how to effectively run her own business and, by the end of the spring, will start managing and supervising her own hand-picked team of painters.
"One thing that I learned from the training process for this internship is to see my college diploma differently: not as a golden ticket to success, but more like a driver's license," said Evans, who is majoring in business management. "Most of the people I will be competing with in the business world also have college degrees. What will set me apart . . . is the experience I'll gain from managing my own company in this internship."
After nearly two years of planning, Kim and Scott Curtis have opened their new yoga studio, Yoga Roots, in Cleveland Heights’s Fairmount Taylor Business District.
A fellow yogi encouraged them to “practice patience” during this journey, and the Curtises now know why. “We have had so many ups and downs during our search for the perfect location for Yoga Roots,” said Kim. “At times it was difficult to understand why certain plans would just stall or never get off the ground.”
Now, said Scott, “Our new studio just fits our personality perfectly. It feels grounded, earthy, and yet truly open to growth. We wanted a place that was authentic to our name, Yoga Roots, which holds special meaning to us. We could not have picked a more ideal location or better studio.”
Yoga Roots officially opened its doors on April 5 at 3459 Fairmount Blvd., in the space formerly occupied by Start to Finish Fitness. Their new studio is in a neighborhood that the Curtises, residents of Shaker Heights, have always enjoyed.
Effective May 1, several Lee Road businesses plan to begin accepting bitcoins as payment from customers. Branded Bitcoin Boulevard US, Lee Road joins Bitcoin Boulevard NL (The Hague, Netherlands) as a global destination for Bitcoin commerce and community.
The Wine Spot (2271 Lee Road) became one of Greater Cleveland’s first bitcoin-friendly retail merchants when it began accepting bitcoins on Feb. 4. That generated interest from neighboring businesses, and soon a vision was shared.
An April 25 ruling from the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS), however, has now banned the use of bitcoins for alcohol sales—at least temporarily.
DragonID, a technology company that focuses on medical devices and other healthcare-related projects, recently moved its headquarters from the Launch House in Shaker Heights to the Heights Rockefeller Building in Cleveland Heights. Last year, the company was named one of the top 25 tech companies in Northeast Ohio and the “coolest tech startup company” by Inside Business magazine.
Founder and CEO Eugene Malinskiy, 28, grew up in Kiev and moved to the U.S. with his parents when he was in his teens. He graduated from Mayfield High School and earned undergraduate degrees in chemistry and biochemistry from John Carroll University. He attended graduate school at the University of Copenhagen and Cleveland State University and has graduate degrees in biomedicine and engineering.
Buffalo Wild Wings, also known as “B-dubs”, opened in the Cedar Fairmount Business District on April 21. This family-friendly sports restaurant occupies approximately 6,000 square feet of the former Myxx location at 12459 Cedar Road.
Richard Andrews, owner of the franchise, has spent several months renovating the space. The project completely gutted the interior and replaced all electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, as well as windows and doors. The build-out includes a new kitchen, bathrooms, floors, walls, and the addition of two patios at the rear of the building, one of which is enclosed.
The restaurant seats 280 patrons in multiple dining areas, and has more than 60 televisions, including four 119-inch large-screen projection TVs.
Eddy Maddox, the owner of Eddy’s on Coventry salon, has taken over the space down the street that previously was occupied by the Laura Lee Salon. In its place, he has opened Eddy’s Barbershop, specializing in men’s haircuts.
“There was a niche to be filled over here,” Maddox said. “Not every guy wants to go to a unisex hair salon. So for the guy who doesn’t want to go to one of those places, we’re here.”
The Cedar Taylor Business District is taking a proactive role in creating the next great neighborhood commercial district in the Heights.
In 2013, after several years of planning, the Cedar Taylor Development Association (CTDA) was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. CTDA's first initiative has been to undertake a streetscape study to identify a range of initiatives aimed at creating a more cohesive neighborhood district.
CTDA comprises residents, business owners and property owners who have a vested interest in the Cedar Taylor neighborhood that spans both Cleveland Heights and University Heights.
The Cedar Fairmount Business District's 14th Annual Discover Cedar Fairmount Festival is set to take place on Sunday, Aug. 10.
The popular neighborhood festival is a free event, and features family-friendly activities, including rides on the Euclid Beach Rocket Car, children's games, live music and an arts and crafts sale. Potential vendors and nonprofit groups who wish to participate in the festival are invited to visit www.cedarfairmount.org or call 216-791-3172 for information.
If you’re looking for a place to hear live music, there’s a new venue in Cleveland Heights. Rockefeller’s, the restaurant in the historic Rockefeller building at the corner of Mayfield and Lee roads, now presents live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
The focus is on jazz and blues, and some artists—including Hot Djang!, Anita Keys and Tom Letiza—appear every month. “We’re getting good turnouts for the music,” said Mike Adams, the restaurant’s owner. “There’s a nice eclectic mix of live music in Cleveland Heights, with the Grog Shop, the Wine Spot, Nighttown, and now us. It’s great for Cleveland Heights to have this mix of music.”
Adams, who is 43, opened the restaurant in 2011. Prior to that, he was an attorney for a medical-records firm. He grew up in New Jersey, then attended Kenyon College in Ohio. His wife, Mazie, grew up in Cleveland Heights, and after they married, they moved here. Adams said he has had a “lifelong interest in how restaurants operate.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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."
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.
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:
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.
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.facebook.com/citybuddha, 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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.