New patio for Bodega on Coventry

Bodega on Coventry isn’t a topless bar. It’s a tapas bar.

“At first, no one even knew what tapas were,” said head chef and owner Said Ouaddaadaa. “Actually, when we were saying tapas, everyone was thinking ‘oh, they’re opening a topless bar!’ We brought in something that Coventry didn’t have.”

Ouaddaadaa, who has been in the restaurant business for 23 years, grew up in Coventry and always wanted to open a restaurant on the street.

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 8:31 AM, 09.03.2012

Revive boutique offers unique handcrafted items

Six years ago, Lisa Dunn merged her separate career paths in retail, fair trade and human rights advocacy and opened the Revive Fair Trade boutique on Lee Road. “The goal of the store is to sell products that are handcrafted by artisans around the world and to give them a platform to retail their products,” said Dunn, a 10-year resident of Cleveland Heights.

Dunn had wanted to open her own store for as long as she could remember. “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to have my own boutique,” she said. “Once I got into retail, I started to wonder if I could do it in an ethical manner. When I realized there was an opportunity to sell products that people can believe in and make a positive difference, it was like the floodgates opened. I was very focused on making it happen with limited resources.”

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 8:25 AM, 09.03.2012

New sign marks Cedar Fairmount as a unique destination

The Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District (CFSID) unveiled a new sign in the traffic island where Cedar Road and Fairmount Boulevard meet. The sign, which had been a long time in the making, was unveiled just before the opening of the annual Discover Cedar Fairmount Festival on Aug. 12.

“The sign is the fourth phase of a project that began in 1999 when we completed a streetscape plan for the district,” said Kaye Lowe, executive director of CFSID. “In 2007, we hired Raymond Bugelski to create a logo for the district. We worked with Peggy Spaeth and Heights Arts to initiate a public arts project to mark the district as a unique destination.”

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 11:25 AM, 08.21.2012

Familiar faces and a dream come true at New Heights Grill

If you claim longtime Heights residency or have, through the years, found reasons to keep coming back, you may not know Kelly Kral and Adam Faller by name. But if either of them were standing in front of you, you’d be hard pressed not to say to yourself, “Oh yeah, they look really familiar.”

That’s because, between the two of them, they’ve logged upwards of 50 years of combined experience in the restaurant business. What is more remarkable is that all of it has been spent working in the Heights.

“I’ve pretty much lived on Corydon Road since 1968,” said Kral. “I just like the community, and St. Ann’s is really a big part of that. I have a great following of teachers who followed me from different locations." Kral inadvertently dated herself in referencing what is now known as Communion of Saints, no longer St. Ann’s. Call it longevity. 

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 4:54 PM, 09.04.2012

Cleveland Heights City Council declares Myxx a public nuisance

Cleveland Heights City Council passed an emergency ordinance at its Aug. 6 meeting declaring Myxx, a restaurant and bar located at 12459 Cedar Road, in the Cedar Fairmount Business District, a hazard to the health and safety of the community and authorizing the city manager and law director to take any steps necessary to abate the nuisance.

Mayor Ed Kelley said, “We had received numerous complaints from neighbors and businesses and there was no progress on working out the issues.”

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 3:11 PM, 08.07.2012

Atma Center celebrates 15 years on Lee Road

In 15 years on Lee Road, Atma Center has taught health-oriented yoga and brought Satyananda Yoga to the Heights neighborhood.

“I picked Cleveland Heights because I lived here and when we opened in 1997, yoga was [new and] different for some people,” said Beverly Roberts Singh, founder and director. “Cleveland Heights is a great place for it, since it’s an open-minded community.”

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 2:54 PM, 08.07.2012

spyngaFlows expands, promises to remain different

When Carina Adams found herself unable to reach her knees, she knew that something was wrong. Once an avid cyclist, her passion was leaving her stiff and at risk of injury.

Turning to yoga as a remedy, Adams quickly discovered that the two activities complement each other nicely. Cycling offers an intense cardiovascular workout, while yoga provides an opportunity to increase flexibility.

Inspired to learn more, Adams traveled to Toronto to study with the founders of Spynga, the cycling and yoga chain to which she now belongs. Adams said that she found her studio space the first time she drove through the Coventry neighborhood. After that, “everything just fell into place,” she added.

As a master Spynga franchisee, Adams prides herself on operating a diverse, inclusive and friendly studio. Classes at spyngaFlows attract a wide range of ages, from college students to the retired, and a variety of skill levels. Most classes are 50 minutes long, with 25 minutes on the stationary bike and 25 minutes of yoga.

Said Adams, “Typically we have someone who’s really practiced in yoga, but they’ve never been on a bike before . . . and vice versa.” To accommodate the gaps in experience, as well as to prevent injury and maximize the efficiency of each workout, Adams caps enrollment in each class at 12 people.

With her commitment to small classes, and the studio’s popularity, Adams is planning some major changes this fall. First, spyngaFlows is expanding its physical space by moving across the hall at 1846 Coventry Road, the building where the studio is located.  

Adams is also adding a teaching school. She hopes to retain some of these students as employees. Finding instructors who are qualified to teach both yoga and cycling is difficult. “Most yogis stay off of their bikes because it makes the body tighter,” she explained. The teaching school should also enable Adams to provide a diverse array of classes.

In addition to her standard yoga and cycling classes, Adams offers classes for kids, and post- and prenatal “boot camp” classes. She provides cycling and yoga expertise to sports teams as a trainer, working with, most notably, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Between working at spyngaFlows and raising three children, Adams finds the time to offer her fitness expertise outside of her studio. She leads bike tours of the Chagrin Valley, where she lives, and occasionally conducts free yoga sessions in neighborhood parks.

For more information about spyngaFlows classes, call 216-965-0310.

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 3:26 PM, 09.04.2012

Carol Leslie, occupational therapist, helps patients through difficult times

Carol Leslie, University Heights resident and occupational therapist, helps trauma and transplant patients get through difficult times in their lives after surgery and recovery.

Leslie opened her business in Beachwood on March 1, in an office that she felt had a “calming and soothing aura.”

Leslie teaches skill building for recovery, which includes meditation, guided imagery for wellness and Reiki therapy. Everything is activity based, and she sets goals for every appointment.

“I really do have a passion for helping people after they leave the hospital,” Leslie said. “They have follow-up appointments with their surgeons and sometimes get home help a couple days a week to do specific things, such as going up and down the stairs and getting in and out of the tub. But nobody, other than a psychiatric nurse, is helping them cope.”

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 1:03 PM, 08.06.2012

Coventry Village SID is a catalyst for change

The Coventry Village Special Improvement District (CVSID) has had a big impact on Coventry Road in 15 years.

“Twelve years ago, professionals didn’t want to rent in Coventry,” said Lewis Zipkin, vice president of CVSID and property owner in the district. “Today, we get calls from around the world.”

The CVSID was formed in November 1996 when property owners noticed that Coventry was becoming a little rough around the edges.

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 11:26 AM, 08.01.2012

Blush Boutique hosts designer trunk show Tuesday, July 31

Blush Boutique on Coventry will be having a trunk show from 5–9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31.

One of Philadelphia’s young designers, Nicole Rae Styer, will showcase her line of jewelry, accessories and clothing. Blush Boutique is the only store in Cleveland to carry her line, NRS.

Light refreshments and wine will be provided courtesy of the Wine Spot.

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 5:53 PM, 07.30.2012

Nighttown continues longtime tradition of fine food and hot jazz

On one hand, it’s a Cleveland Heights musical mainstay that has hosted the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder and the Count Basie Orchestra. One the other, it’s a culinary symbol of consistency that, for decades, has served up some of the most popular meals and drinks on the entire east side of Cleveland.

Since February 1965, Nighttown has been catering to residents from Westlake to Hunting Valley, with an intensely loyal following from throughout the Heights and the University Circle neighborhoods.

In April 1992, Brendan Ring, a hard-working Irish immigrant who had moved here from New York, became a bartender at Nighttown.

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 9:18 AM, 08.13.2012

Cleveland Heights declares free parking weekend a success

Cleveland Heights kicked off its Summer in the City free parking event last weekend, June 29–July1.

“I think it went very well; we had great feedback from people who were happy about it,” Susanna Neirmann O’Neil, acting city manager for the City of Cleveland Heights, said. “It was a nice time. Merchants were pretty happy about it, too.”

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 12:09 PM, 07.03.2012

Taste owners celebrate three years in business

At 2317 Lee Road, one can see Cleveland Heights residents and out-of-towners enjoying delicious food and refreshing wine at the restaurant called Taste.

After taking a year to decide on a menu and the type of place they wanted, Raj Singh and Larry Weider opened the restaurant in 2008.

Singh, who owns Café Tandoor on Taylor Road and restaurants in Westlake and Aurora, is the managing partner of Taste. Weider, whose day job is in sales, takes care of the restaurant’s substantial wine list. The two are longtime friends. 

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 12:24 PM, 08.09.2012

Sweet Memories start conversations

Longtime Cleveland Heights resident Neil Slobin joined with several friends to develop Sweet Memories, a deck of 52 cards with questions designed to spark conversations.

Slobin, a philosophy professor, thought of the idea for Sweet Memories four years ago. While visiting a friend who was in declining health, Slobin became frustrated when he ran out of topics to discuss. That day, he considered the idea of putting conversation-starting questions on cards.

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 11:42 AM, 08.09.2012

Simply Charming boutique returns to Lee Road

Inside a quirky space at 2254 Lee Road, Elisabeth Gevelber’s Simply Charming boutique offers everything from unique stationery to Australian jewelry to Hello Kitty accessories.

Simply Charming's motto—Stylish, Delightful, Unique—aptly describes both the store and its owner.

“I’m kind of like a square peg in a round hole, I don’t fit into corporate America,” Gevelber said. “It’s just easier for me to have my own business and I’m more comfortable doing my own thing.”

Gevelber believes a good location is key to starting a business from scratch.

“I was on Lee Road from 2007 to 2009, and there was nothing available when I was looking to reopen a year ago,” Gevelber said. "I'm glad to be back. Lee Road is a great place to be an entrepreneur.”

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 4:37 PM, 07.02.2012

The Fairmount School of Music inspires students

From guitar to piano to ukulele, the Fairmount School of Music offers instruction in more than 21 different instruments, and helps children and adults of all ages find their musical niche.

In 10 years, the school has almost doubled the number of its teachers, to more than 26. The school offers group classes as well as private lessons.

Mike McNamara, guitar instructor, teaches many of the group classes. He’s been teaching at Fairmount for five years.

“We get students to play rock ensembles,” McNamara said. “We started to group them by age, levels and musical interests. Each group meets for about an hour every other week, and then plays at a local venue, the Boneyard in Mayfield Heights. We pack the house every time.”

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 1:03 PM, 08.08.2012

Culture of Cutting serves neighbors and celebrities

DeSean Matthews is a humble laid-back guy, but he’s stern. If clothing is a form of self-expression, his freshly ironed red Adidas shirt, pressed denim shorts, flawless goatee and haircut reflect his hardworking, perfectionist mentality. It was his work ethic and his pursuit of perfection that enabled him to open his shop, Culture of Cutting Barber Salon, on South Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights, at the age of 33. 

Matthews began cutting hair in the sixth grade and has been passionate about it ever since. “I just love the art of cutting hair. It makes you feel good when someone is satisfied with your work.” 

After high school, Matthews attended Lake Erie Barber College. Following graduation, he started cutting hair professionally, and saving money with the goal of having his own shop some day. Three years ago, his dream came true. 

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 2:49 PM, 07.05.2012

The Inn on Coventry celebrates 32 years

Owners Debbie Duirk and Mary Haley have been running their family-style dining business, the Inn on Coventry, for more than three decades.

“After I finished college, I met Mary," said Duirk. "She had a dream of opening up a restaurant and so did I. Amy Haley [Mary’s mother] was 96 years old and worked here every Sunday until she passed away.”

The artsy and eclectic vibe of Coventry appealed to Haley and Duirk when they were looking for a location for their business. “Coventry Yard had just burned down and there was an empty space here," Duirk said.

Although the economy has taken a toll on many businesses, Duirk and Haley have tried to keep prices low. They set “budget” prices from the start, and Duirk pointed out, "We have a morning breakfast special that's $4.25, with eggs, bacon and fried toast. You can’t beat that.”

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 2:53 PM, 07.05.2012

Brennan's Colony: an 'old friend' serves up classic American fare

Over time, a favorite local restaurant begins to take on the characteristics of an old friend—ever-present, reliable and welcoming. Few eateries personify that quality better than Brennan’s Colony at the corner of Lee and Silsby roads.

To longtime neighborhood residents, the place is known simply as The Colony. What began as a bartending job for Jim Brennan, in 1981, turned into more than 20 years of successful ownership of the local institution.

 “I was a waiter in college and kind of fell into it. Once I became involved, I developed a knack for it,” Brennan said. “We’re lucky to have a great location with more than ample parking in the back and all near the best housing stock in the Midwest.”

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 3:32 PM, 07.05.2012

Heights Community Congress celebrates its 40th anniversary

Heights Community Congress (HCC) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

HCC began in 1972 with four women who were members of the Social Justice Committee at St. Ann’s Church (now part of Communion of Saints Parish) on Cedar Road. The women suspected that prospective homebuyers were being steered into different neighborhoods in Cleveland Heights based on their race. They conducted what became known as the St. Ann’s Audit to see if their perceptions were accurate.  

“They got together and formed the first fair housing audit to see if prospective homeowners were being treated equally,” said Kasey Greer, HCC executive director. “It was a big case that helped the federal fair housing law. It was the first sales audit performed in Cuyahoga County.”

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 12:11 PM, 06.28.2012

Shop local to celebrate our Independents

The Heights Independent Business Alliance (HiBA) wants Heights residents to celebrate their independence this July by choosing to shop local. HiBA is partnering with the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and FutureHeights, in collaboration with the cities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, to declare the week of July 1-7 Independents Week.

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 12:43 PM, 06.26.2012

Financial guru of Cleveland Heights

Yoga and money? Well, it’s not quite the union of peanut butter and jelly or baseball and hot dogs. But according to Jeff Bogart, longtime Cleveland Heights resident and registered investment advisor, the two are inextricably linked. Moreover, he maintains that the discipline of yoga can help people achieve peace of mind and long-term financial stability.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 9:27 AM, 06.01.2012

Voting starts for Best of the Heights

Heights residents can vote for their favorite local businesses in FutureHeights’s annual Best of the Heights awards survey. Residents have an opportunity to cast their ballots through Aug. 31, when FutureHeights will tabulate the results and select the winners in each category.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 1:23 PM, 05.30.2012

Another Enemy in the Heights

Call it “swag,” call it subculture, skater-wear, call it whatever you want. Another Enemy is a Cleveland Heights clothing brand that is gaining rave reviews across the nation, with notable celebrities donning the attire, rumors of bans from Cavaliers courtside seats, and more. It opened its flagship in Cleveland Heights just four months ago, at 13437 Cedar Road.

Another Enemy, launched in 2009 by owner Justin Lipsky, focuses on providing apparel to hard-to-reach core demographics and younger consumers. He said the brand was started as a response to the declining quality of graphics in the brands of the streetwear and skateboard clothing industry, including Hurley, Fox, Billabong and Volcom.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 12:18 PM, 05.30.2012

Vero Bistro set to open in June at Cedar Fairmount

Marc-Aurele Buholzer will open a stone oven pizza and Italian gelato restaurant in the former site of La Gelateria and Pizzeria on Cedar Road. Buholzer is familiar with the business, as he helped open the previous restaurant in 2002. He then worked at La Gelateria and Pizzeria while attending college and pursuing a degree in philosophy and business. 

Buholzer saw the closing of the former restaurant as an opportunity to pursue his dream of owning his own business. He chose the name Vero, meaning true or real in Italian.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 12:04 PM, 05.30.2012

Julia’s Creations, jewelry store, opens on Lee Road

On May 5, Shaker Heights residents Julia and Victor Nimmons opened Julia’s Creations, a jewelry boutique on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.

The couple has been married for two years, and both worked at MetroHealth for more than 30 years before resigning from their jobs. “I decided to follow my passion,” Victor said. He wrote a book, Perception, in just 87 days.

After leaving their jobs, they started God’s Work Inc., a nonprofit organization designed to end hunger and establish cultural centers for young people. Meanwhile, Julia was adjusting to retirement. “I was trying to find something that I liked,” she said.

Julia found an outlet in jewelry making and eventually converted one floor of their home into a jewelry studio.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 11:51 AM, 05.30.2012

Lopez: a Cleveland Heights staple

In the restaurant business, longevity is rare and a reputation for consistency is hard to maintain. After 32 years, Lopez on Lee Road, formerly Lopez y Gonzalez, has managed to achieved both and become a Cleveland Heights institution.

Craig Sumers and Brad Friedlander founded Lopez in 1979. The Southwestern-themed restaurant originally opened at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Lee Road. After a rocky beginning, a review in the Plain Dealer’s Friday Magazine provided a boost of publicity that immediately led to lines out the door.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 1:56 PM, 05.29.2012

Buy Local/Buy Independent Meet & Greet set for May 31

The Heights Independent Business Alliance (HiBA) will host a meet and greet on Thursday, May 31, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the BottleHouse Brewery, 2050 Lee Road. Owners and administrators of local independent businesses and nonprofit organizations in and around Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and University Heights—including retail, home-based and service businesses—are invited to attend.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 2:12 PM, 05.22.2012

Cedar Lee’s Rock the Block 2012

This summer, the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District (SID) will sponsor Rock the Block, a series of consumer-appreciation events.

“This will be our fourth year for Rock the Block,” said Kelly Robinson, director of Cedar Lee SID. At Rock the Block events, Cedar Lee patrons can enjoy music from local artists as well as complimentary appetizers, soft drinks, and door prizes. Two venues, The Wine Spot and The BottleHouse Brewery, will offer optional tastings for a small fee.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 3:29 PM, 05.29.2012

Tradition and innovation at Pizzazz

When David Spiccia told his family he planned to branch out from the family restaurant business and open a second, much larger location, no one considered it a wise move. Twenty years later, Pizzazz On the Circle is one the most popular restaurants in the Heights.

“My family thought I was crazy going from a 50 seater to a restaurant that seats 200 plus,” said Spiccia. “My parents had the place in Mayfield and I wanted to expand, so I put together an investment package, went out and got some investors, and we got it done.”

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 10:10 AM, 05.03.2012

Realtor Chris Hallum hosts unique open house

Keller Williams realtor Chris Hallum hosted a unique open house on April 18 at 2572 Stratford Road in Cleveland Heights. This open house provided not only an opportunity for visitors to tour the home, but also a chance to meet neighbors and local business owners.

Adam Fleischer, owner of the Wine Spot on nearby Lee Road, poured wine for tasting as he answered questions about the community. The team Hallum works with consists of six realtors and one assistant. Five of them were present at the open house.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 1:14 PM, 05.02.2012

Remodeled Motorcars Toyota now services all makes

The Motorcars family keeps growing, but not with the addition of new personnel or relatives. Instead, Motorcars is growing physically, as their business footprint continues to expand. A year and a half ago, the environmentally friendly Rainforest Car Wash was added to the many services and luxuries offered by the business. This year, Motorcars Toyota completed a remodeling of its service facility, as well as the exterior of the building.

Matt Giles, general manager of Motorcars Toyota said, “Our service department has been growing so rapidly that we were doing our customers a disservice by making them wait as long as a week at times in order to schedule a service appointment. So, we added six express service bays, along with an enclosed four-lane garage for service reception.”

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 12:26 PM, 05.02.2012

Silhouette artist Clay Rice returns to Sunbeam

Silhouette artistry has been in Clay Rice's family for more than 80 years. After learning the technique from his South Carolinian grandfather, Carew, Rice traveled throughout the world creating over 900,000 of these classic black paper portraits.

On Friday, May 18, he returns to Sunbeam-a Shop for Children, at 3469 Fairmount Blvd., after a three-year hiatus.

In a matter of minutes, Rice produces an heirloom-quality portrait that a family will treasure forever. People of all ages are fascinated by Rice's skill and speed.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 12:45 PM, 05.02.2012

Goodyear returns to the Heights

Although you may have developed the habit of zigzagging around potholes along Taylor and Mayfield roads to avoid further damage, you need not defer vehicle maintenance any longer. There is a not-so-new neighbor in town that will help take care of these vehicular issues. On Saturday, April 21, Goodyear Auto Service Center opened a new location at 3971 Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights.  

It was a day of fun, food and prizes in celebration of the grand opening, as David Hinds, the store manager, welcomed new customers. As cars came in for servicing, people learned of the exceptional customer service that was imported along with the new crew.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 12:26 PM, 05.02.2012

Severance Town Center is ready for challenges to perception and reinvention

Severance Town Center has received attention recently as the current home of the Walmart that will be moving to the Oakwood Commons development in South Euclid. For those living or working near the center, this increased attention can present a challenge if people begin to think that the departure of a major tenant represents a turning point in how the center will be maintained.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 12:26 PM, 05.02.2012

Long-awaited BottleHouse Brewery opens on Lee Road

A new place to gather has arrived on Lee Road. The long-anticipated BottleHouse Brewery opened Tuesday, May 1, and owners Brian Bencheck and Dave Schubert invite all to celebrate and see what this microbrewery and “brew-on-premise” facility offers.

Bencheck and Schubert wanted to create a place close to home, to brew good beer. The brewery is family friendly, with a laid-back atmosphere. There is a gathering area for conversation, light music and entertainment. Local groups are encouraged to come and use the space.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 1:12 PM, 04.24.2012

Open Office offers coworking space at Coventry School

Open Office, a shared office and meeting room space for freelancers, mobile workers and other small business owners, is the latest tenant to open in the former Coventry School building. For a monthly full-time or part-time membership fee, Open Office offers individual office space, meeting rooms, and collaboration areas.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 2:30 PM, 04.24.2012

New sandwich shop opens in Heights Rockefeller Building

Barlē Soup & Sandwich is a new restaurant in the northern end of Cleveland Heights. Pronounced “barley,” the new spot takes its name from owner Jim Barle, and will offer homemade soups, sandwiches made with artisan breads, vegan dishes and more. After months of painstaking restoration and planning, Barlē Soup & Sandwich officially opened on Sunday, April 1.  

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 10:39 AM, 04.03.2012

Local restaurant owner chases success, manages transition

When Kim Lisboa, owner of Myxx Luxury Lounge and Restaurant in Cedar Fairmount, noticed fewer customers crossing the threshold of the former Jillian's Billiard Club, she knew she had to make a bold move. After a near-complete demolition and rebuild, the spacious new restaurant and lounge are more reminiscent of a place you’d find in Soho  than in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 11:43 AM, 04.04.2012

Dream comes true for local entrepreneur

It all happened the day before Thanksgiving 2009. That was the day that, for Chris Armington, owner of The Tavern Company, a longtime dream was finally realized. After more than a dozen years working as a server, bartender and, eventually, a manager at Brennan’s Colony, he finally had a spot to call his own.

“I always wanted to own my own restaurant, but didn’t know if it was realistic or feasible,” said Armington.

Now that roughly two and a half years have elapsed since its grand reopening, things at the Lee Road restaurant are going fairly well—no small feat, given the restaurant’s popularity under its previous ownership. Customers have commented that the food has improved and the nightly specials have become popular among patrons.

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 1:00 PM, 02.28.2012

Big Fun is site of latest Cleveland Cash Mob event

Coventry Village’s Big Fun was the site of a cash mob on Feb. 9. In an e-mail to customers, Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun, described the joy he felt watching 65 like-minded individuals support the store. “What an incredible feeling it is to watch five dozen plus people rush in your front door with smiles on their faces and with one and only one idea: to support a local business. No discounts, no special deals—that’s not the mission here.” Presser joined the group afterwards for drinks at La Cave Du Vin

Samtoy staged the first cash mob in November 2011. He came up with the concept while going through the Cleveland Bridge Builders leadership program. The mob has three rules: spend $20, meet three people you didn’t know before, and have fun.

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 2:55 PM, 02.14.2012

Heights Floral Shoppe closes

In a letter to her customers and friends, Tammy Currier, owner of Heights Floral Shoppe, announced that she was closing her store effective immediately. Heights Floral, located at 3451 Fairmount Boulevard, in the Fairmount Taylor Business District, was known for its eye-catching displays and gifts, as well as its unique floral designs.

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Volume 5, Issue 2, Posted 11:09 AM, 01.10.2012

We are all suburbs of somewhere: CLI to host leadership sessions

This winter, Cleveland Leadership Center (CLC) and four chambers of commerce are cooperating in a whole new way. For the last two years, Civic Leadership Institute (CLI) has brought together business owners, executives and key nonprofit and community leaders with seminars designed to foster understanding about how the city and its suburbs work together—and sometimes against each other.

Beginning Feb. 1, the CLI will bring its six-part program to Cleveland’s eastern suburbs.

When Angie Polman, executive director of the Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce, attended the fall session of the CLI at its usual downtown City Club location, ideas percolated. “CLI gave me great insight into the history of our regional economy and sharpened my civic dialogue skills,” said Polman.

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Volume 5, Issue 2, Posted 4:53 PM, 01.16.2012

Irish and independent, Parnell’s Pub celebrates 15 years on Lee Road

For more years than anyone can remember, 2167 Lee Road, next door to the Cedar Lee Theatre, has been a bar. For the last 15 years, it has been the Charles Stewart Parnell Pub, under the watchful eye and keep of Irish-born owner Declan Synnott. Better known in the neighborhood as simply Parnell’s Pub, it’s likely the old oak bar holds more stories and secrets than most high school students.

Arriving in Boston in 1994 from County Meath, Ireland, Synnott was enticed to move to Cleveland by the promise of opening a family-owned Irish restaurant--Flannery’s on East 4th Street. After opening and managing the place for a few years, he knew it was time for him to have his turn.

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Volume 5, Issue 1, Posted 10:53 AM, 01.05.2012

The Wine Spot opens on Lee Road

The Wine Spot, a purveyor of wine and microbrew beers opened on Lee Road on Dec. 16. The opening, attended by an estimated 400 people, featured the inaugural exhibit of The Art Spot, a student-run gallery exhibiting the works of Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) students.

Four of the exhibit’s student paintings were sold during the opening, and Wine Spot owner Adam Fleischer said he expects the exhibit to be the first of many quarterly shows of student work.

"The cooperative gallery venture is one of many partnerships that The Wine Spot hopes to cultivate with local artists and artisans," said Fleischer.

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Volume 5, Issue 1, Posted 10:46 AM, 01.05.2012

2011 Holiday Gift Guide

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:

The Foodie

Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, A Cook's Manifesto by Michael Ruhlman, lavishly illustrated with photographs by Donna Turner Ruhlman. ($40, Mac’s Backs)

French Macaron Box. ($7 for four macarons; $13 for eight, Luna Bakery Café)

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 12:12 PM, 12.02.2011

KooKoo's Café opens on Noble

For a long time, Dana Clark dreamed of opening a small café with diverse offerings. He shared his ideas with Karen (his wife of 22 years), and with his mother Carolyn, and his brother Dwayne. Finally, his mom said, "You are going to make yourself coo-coo with this." That was it—KooKoo's Café.

The Clark family came together with the finances required to open the business, and they began to search for a location—a storefront in a nice area that had a need for KooKoo's Cafe. It was almost two years before they found 2579 Noble Road (near the intersection of Noble Road and Monticello Boulevard). The neighborhood had no coffee shop where people could drop in. KooKoo's fills that void and it is a good place for kids to stop in after school to enjoy hot dogs (all beef), ice cream (some lactose free), cupcakes, cookies, and milk shakes—or just sit at a table and do their homework.

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 10:33 AM, 12.02.2011

Cedar Fairmount merchants sponsor holiday walk

Cedar Fairmount merchants will host a Holiday Walk along Cedar Road and Fairmount Boulevard on Saturday, Nov. 19, from noon to 4 p.m. Merchants will offer holiday specials and sales. Santa will visit Dave’s supermarket, and children will have an opportunity to decorate holiday cookies at Dave’s. Many stores will offer refreshments, holiday music, and more.

Participating merchants are: Abstract-A-Hair-Salon, Appletree Books, Cedar Fairmount Antiques, Cedar Hill Salon, CL Barber, Dave’s Market, Green Tara Yoga & Healing Arts, Hang It Up, Luna Café & Bakery, Nighttown Restaurant, Reflections Interiors, Starbucks, SunDaez Tanning Salon, Ten Thousand Villages, and Zoss the Swiss Baker.

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 3:24 PM, 11.09.2011

HiBA joins national holiday campaign to support shopping at local merchants

The Heights Independent Business Alliance has joined an unprecedented national effort to encourage residents and businesses to buy from local independent merchants for the holiday season.

Called Shift Your Shopping, the campaign represents more than 38,000 locally owned and independent businesses across the U.S. and Canada, and offers a simple way to boost the local economy and preserve and create jobs in the Heights.

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 2:04 PM, 11.23.2011

First Interstate issues statement upon passage of Oakwood rezoning

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, First Interstate Properties issued a press release following the passage of Issue 96 – the South Euclid referundum on rezoning the South Euclid portion of the former Oakwood Country Club for commercial use. Following is text from that release:

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 3:23 PM, 11.09.2011

Lee Road merchants host pumpkin carving party and candy crawl Oct. 27

Phoenix Coffee on Lee Road has been inviting families to carve pumpkins in the coffee shop since 2004. This year, other Lee Road merchants have joined in to host a Kids Candy Crawl on Thursday, Oct. 27.

The Phoenix Coffee Pumpkin Carving Party runs from 4-8 p.m. at 2287 Lee Road. Phoenix will supply pumpkins, candles, carving advice, cookies and cider. Participants can bring their own tools or borrow tools from Phoenix. The pumpkins have been donated by Bremec Garden Center. A $10 per pumpkin donation benefits Heights Arts, a nonprofit community arts organization, also on Lee Road.

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Volume 4, Issue 11, Posted 12:35 PM, 10.25.2011

Teamwork is key on and off the track

Growing up in Cleveland Heights, Chip Ramsey knew he wanted to own an auto repair shop. As he roamed the hallways of Heights High, he envisioned working on cars. What he did not know, is that his career path would lead him on a 25-hour, 25-minute, and 25-second race and quite possibly the most fun he's ever had with a car.

Ramsey owns Washington and Lee Service; a gas station turned auto repair shop that has been a part of Cleveland Heights since 1954. Recently, Ramsey and his employees heard about ChumpCar, an endurance race lasting more than 24 hours with cars worth $500 or less. When ChumpCar came to Nelson Ledges, Ramsey knew he had to participate.

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Volume 4, Issue 11, Posted 11:10 AM, 11.01.2011

Local businesses help raise Officer West Scholarship funds

On May 26, 2007, Officer Jason West lost his life in the line of duty while protecting the citizens of Cleveland Heights. In 2008, residents of Cleveland Heights, together with Jason's family, friends and fellow Cleveland Heights police officers, established The Officer Jason D. West Memorial Scholarship Fund to honor his memory.

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Volume 4, Issue 11, Posted 12:57 PM, 10.27.2011

Service makes the difference at Appletree Books

Not many Cleveland Heights residents can say they have lived in the community since World War II, and not many Cleveland Heights merchants can say they have been in business for two decades. Jane Kessler, owner of Appletree Books, can say both of these things.

Kessler was a professor at Case Western Reserve for 39 years. After retiring from her teaching career, Kessler decided she was not through with the working world. In 1990, she bought Appletree Books. Now, after 21 years as owner, and at 90 years of age, Kessler is still serving the reading community of Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 4, Issue 10, Posted 4:07 PM, 10.07.2011

Change brought The Wine Spot to CH

Since the early 1920s, 2271 Lee Road has been an important location to the Cleveland Heights community. Originally, it was home to Bruder's Dairy, which provided milk and dairy products to residents during war time. In 1955, it became Seitz-Agin Hardware. For 56 years, Seitz-Agin literally helped build Cleveland Heights. Now, 2271 Lee Road is opening its doors once again as The Wine Spot.

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Volume 4, Issue 10, Posted 9:08 AM, 10.04.2011

Abstract a Hair Salon brings Vegas style to Cleveland Heights

Cindy Jahn, owner of Abstract a Hair Salon, and Ryan Simons, lead stylist, attended The Gathering 2011 for Paul Mitchell in Las Vegas in July.

There, at the annual event for stylists and salon owners from all over the world, they learned some of Paul Mitchell’s current and most creative cutting and coloring techniques.

"We came back energized and excited about ourselves and our abilities," said Simons. “Meeting John Paul DeJorgia, owner and cofounder of John Paul Mitchell Systems, was a highlight,” she said, "as was the White Party, where the hairdressers, who always wear black, finally get to wear white and let their hair down."

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Volume 4, Issue 9, Posted 11:09 AM, 09.02.2011

New salon to offer simplified beauty

It’s a small space—700 square feet—long, narrow and tall. When my eyes wandered up from the freshly painted walls towards the ceiling, it was immediately apparent that this will be an elegant space. Two vintage chandeliers hang sparkling from the ceiling in the soon-to-open Shawn Paul Salon.

Shawn Paul Gustafson showed me around the salon that will bear his name. Nestled between The Stone Oven and Kobalt on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, the salon boasts rich but subtle jewel-toned walls and silver accents. Gustafson explained that he is hoping to create a different type of boutique salon—exceptionally quaint, very individualized and all about simplified beauty. Shawn Paul Salon will provide clients with the option of private appointments on Sundays.

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Volume 4, Issue 9, Posted 4:49 PM, 09.01.2011