Business

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

East Cleveland market gets makeover

A dilapidated, peeling and rusting produce market was reborn last week thanks to a generous Lakewood painting contractor and a prominent Cleveland corporation.

The aged and tired-looking Coit Road Farmer’s Market in East Cleveland, a nonprofit with an 80-year history, was chosen as the recipient of the annual Neubert Painting Charity Paint Giveaway. The market now boasts a barn-red hue that is as fresh as the produce sold within.

"We couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out or with Neubert’s generosity," says Kevin Scheuring, a Collinwood resident and vice president of the Coit Road Famer's Market Preservation Society. "The new look really reflects what we’re all about. Despite the fact that we have great food and dedicated farmers, people have a hard time getting past the shabby exterior. This will make a huge difference to us and to the people in the neighborhood."

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Volume 4, Issue 9, Posted 1:56 PM, 09.01.2011

High gas prices lead to fuel innovation

When gas prices rose to more than four dollars a gallon, Josh Barrett, owner of Heights Tile and Stone, decided to pursue a chemistry project which, for a few months, turned him into something of a mad scientist.

He got rid of his antiquated gas-guzzler, bought a diesel truck, and taught himself how to make biodiesel fuel. The internet sources he used for guidance made it seem simple. Get used cooking oil; add lye and methanol; heat, mix and wash and —Ta Da—you’ve got biodiesel.

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Volume 4, Issue 9, Posted 1:41 PM, 08.23.2011

University Heights BMV holds grand opening celebration

The University Heights Bureau of Motor Vehicles has moved to a new location in the shopping center on the corner of South Taylor and Cedar roads.  The BMW will hold a grand opening celebration on Tuesday, Aug. 16, during normal business hours (8 a.m.- 5 p.m.). The public is invited to attend. Snacks, refreshments and guest dignitaries will be on hand throughout the day. 

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Volume 4, Issue 9, Posted 9:56 AM, 08.08.2011

Heights Hardware turns 100

This year marks the 100th birthday of Heights Hardware in Coventry Village.

Heights Hardware was opened in 1911 by the Weiskopf family, co-owner Andy Gathy said, and ownership moved to his family when a distant cousin bought the store about 60 years ago. Gathy’s father, Tom, bought the business in 1979. “We like to think that Cleveland Heights grew up around the store,” Andy said.

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Volume 4, Issue 8, Posted 11:43 AM, 08.02.2011

PC Handyman aims to make computer repairs and web design fun

Charley Bass and John Pierce want to put a friendly face on the electronics repair and service business.

“It’s not such a bad thing to have to drop off your computer,” said Pierce, who is co-owner, along with Bass and silent partner Brett Angney, of PC Handyman, which opened this month in Cedar Fairmount, above Starbucks. “We like to have fun,” he added.

“A handyman has to be able to do a lot of things,” Bass pointed out. In addition to computer repairs and web development services, PC Handyman offers graphic and gaming design, videography, and search-engine optimization services. They also offer one-on-one classes for computers, social media and mobile devices.

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Volume 4, Issue 8, Posted 1:53 PM, 07.24.2011

Academy Music has repaired instruments for more than 50 years

In a world where many entrepreneurs see expansion and growth as their goals, Tom Ianni embraces the fact that he owns a small business.

"We don’t want to be the biggest," said Ianni, who sells, rents, and repairs musical instruments as co-owner of Academy Music Co. at 1443 Warrensville Center Road, near the intersection with Mayfield. The smallness of his business (he has only one full-time employee) enables him to offer better customer service than he could if he had a larger operation, he added.

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Volume 4, Issue 8, Posted 12:46 PM, 07.12.2011

Eddy's On Coventry opens for business

 

A new hair salon has opened in Coventry, aiming to please clients “who place value in details,” said owner Eddy Maddox, one of the original owners of now-closed Fast Eddy’s Chop Shop.

A welcoming atmosphere, friendly service and artistic décor are among the features that Maddox hopes visitors will notice at Eddy’s On Coventry, LLC, in addition to high-quality, full-service hairstyling.

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Volume 4, Issue 8, Posted 12:46 PM, 07.12.2011

Cedar-Taylor merchants move toward organizing a district association

The stretch of businesses at Cedar and Taylor roads, from Cedarbrook Road to Washington Boulevard, hope they will soon be as popular a destination as Coventry and Cedar and Lee.

Business owners on this stretch, such as Alex Quintana of Quintana’s Barber and Dream Spa, believe that something special is happening in their business district. Quintana, who has also helped to found the Heights Independent Business Alliance, is working to create a merchants association for the Cedar-Taylor district.

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Volume 4, Issue 7, Posted 12:39 PM, 07.05.2011

The Heights celebrates independent businesses

The Heights Independent Business Alliance (HiBA), a member of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), has declared the week of July 1-7, 2011, Independents Week.

“This is 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 AMIBA director Jennifer Rockne.

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Volume 4, Issue 7, Posted 10:47 AM, 06.28.2011

Luna Bakery and Cafe opens to the delight of neighbors

In the interest of full disclosure, I went to the newly opened Luna Bakery and Café fully intending for it to be just what I wanted. My wife and I had wanted a place like this near our house for many years. We envisioned a relaxed place a few minutes walk from our house where we could get a light bite, specifically crepes, sandwiches, salads, and pastries, with an urban café feel. We also harbored a desire for it to offer our favorite dessert, but which no one in Cleveland seemed to offer—pots de crème au chocolat, the rendition of chocolate so sublime it makes mousse look silly.

So we dropped into Luna on opening day, and there it all was. A simple menu consisting of crepes, paninis, a few salads, as well as breakfast items, such as eggs and oatmeal. The showcase had a variety of desserts—cookies, tarts, cupcakes, cheesecake, and to our great delight, yes, pots de crème au chocolat!

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Volume 4, Issue 7, Posted 10:44 AM, 06.24.2011

Reflections has helped Heights homeowners design beautiful interiors for more than 30 years

Many homeowners are thinking spring and summer, and looking for ways to spruce up their homes. This Cleveland Heights business, in operation for more than 31 years, can assist in updating your home’s interior.

Reflections Interior Design is located in the heart of the Cleveland Heights Historic Cedar Fairmount District. Its designers have been creating beautiful homes in the greater Cleveland area since Reita Bayman founded the business in 1980. They can help you put together a plan so you can move forward with confidence to create the home you’ve been dreaming about.

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Volume 4, Issue 7, Posted 10:37 AM, 06.07.2011

Energy audit grants boost small businesses

Small business owners who are interested in saving money, improving conditions for their clients, and reducing environmental impact can apply to receive one of 85 grants for energy assessments as part of the Ohio Small Business and Energy Efficiency Grant program from Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE). The deadline for applications is June 15.

According to Tim Kovach, COSE’s energy product coordinator, the $500 grants will be given to 85 businesses in Ohio, primarily in Cuyahoga and Lake counties; the Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo metro areas; and counties in Southeast Ohio.

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Volume 4, Issue 6, Posted 1:14 PM, 06.02.2011

Reunion aims to capture Coventry Village history

At a reunion this summer, merchants and local residents who were active in the Coventry Village Business District during the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s can swap stories with friends and help document community history.

Coventry residents Ellen Strong and Marcia Polevoi are organizing the event with Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun Toy Store and president of Coventry Merchants Association. Strong said that although the reunion is aimed at bringing back merchants who were present during that time period, as well as customers, residents, and former members of the now-defunct Coventry Neighbors, the reunion is open to all who would like to attend.

Participants are encouraged to share their recollections with Mark Souther, a Cleveland State University professor who will be taking histories. Strong indicated that video and audio recordings collected during the event might be included in a segment for the Cleveland Memory Project, a searchable collection of digital resources on Cleveland history.

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Volume 4, Issue 6, Posted 11:17 AM, 05.10.2011

Ten Thousand Villages opens at Cedar Fairmount

Ten Thousand Villages of Cleveland (TTVC) has relocated from downtown Cleveland to the former Grapevine location in the Cedar Fairmount Business District. The relocation marks seven years in the Cleveland area. The new store, which opened in May, is slightly larger and will offer the same one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted products as the former downtown store.

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Volume 4, Issue 6, Posted 12:33 PM, 06.01.2011

Seitz-Agin Hardware to close in 30 days

Sometime by the end of June, Seitz-Agin Hardware – a fixture on Lee Road since 1955 – will close.

Joel Borwick, who has owned the store for 38 of its 66 years, said simply that the store had started losing money some time ago and that he can no longer keep it open. Borwick, who also owns the building in which the store is located, has an agreement to sell the property to another long-time Cleveland Heights merchant.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 12:28 PM, 05.20.2011

Cedar Lee district sports new signs

It’s a little easier to find your way around the Cedar Lee area these days, thanks to a new signage program instituted by the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District.

Kelley Robinson, executive director for the Cedar Lee SID, said the first phase of the program was installed throughout the district, which stretches from Cain Park to the Lee Road Library, last fall. “The initial signage recommendations were made by Studio Techne, as a component of our streetscape plan. We stuck with their color recommendations, and then ASI incorporated the shape of the Cedar Lee Theatre marquee into the sign to soften the shape of the sign and allow it to blend in with the neighborhood.”

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 2:27 PM, 05.03.2011

Coventry Village merchants have staying power

In the early 1900s, Eastern European immigrants came to Coventry Village to live and work. Many set up unique shops on the street level, and lived above their businesses or around the corner in one of the neighborhood’s many classic apartment buildings.

Flash forward nearly a century, and not much has changed. Although not every Coventry merchant lives in the neighborhood, some do; and Coventry Village remains as eclectic as it ever was.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 2:13 PM, 05.03.2011

Myxx to open at former Jillian's space

Perhaps best remembered by locals for standing-room-only crowds on championship fight nights throughout the 1990’s, Jillian’s is set to reopen as Myxx in May 2011.

Owner Kim Lisboa said Myxx will offer a club-style atmosphere, featuring great food and drinks, entertainment and an eclectic mix of people. The addition of live bands and DJ entertainment, plus more than enough space for a dance floor, could fill an entertainment void within the suburban bar scene and potentially attract large and diverse crowds.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 2:19 PM, 05.03.2011

Ice cream entrepreneur shares knowledge with students

A new ice cream and french fry shop called Sweetie Fry is slated to open in Cleveland Heights this summer, and owner Keith Logan will give local high school students a firsthand look at what it’s like to start a business.

Logan will lead the Entrepreneurs Club, a group of students from Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and Beaumont high schools, in twice monthly meetings until Sweetie Fry opens in mid-July.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 2:24 PM, 05.03.2011

Vote for Best of the Heights beginning May 3

Citizens can vote for their favorite Heights businesses in FutureHeights’ s annual Best of the Heights awards program. The 2011 survey begins May 3 and runs through August 31.

“There are 22 award categories this year,” said Gina Cheverine, chair of the FutureHeights Best of the Heights Committee.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 2:44 PM, 05.03.2011

David H. Lavelle qualifies for Edward Jones' Inaugural Financial Advisor Leaders Conference

David H. Lavelle, an Edward Jones financial advisor in Cleveland Heights, qualified for the firm's inaugural 2011 Financial Advisor Leaders Conference.

This conference was created to recognize financial advisors who are among the leaders in the financial services firm. The conference also will provide additional training to help them serve more individual investors in their communities.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 3:16 PM, 04.07.2011

Grapevine closes after 23 years

Cleveland Heights is losing an icon with the closing of the Grapevine Wine Store. Bob Fishman has decided to leave the retail wine business.

Fishman became interested in food at an early age. At 13, he started working in restaurants as a dish washer and worked his way up through the ranks. He graduated from college with a degree in restaurant/business administration. Fishman worked at Au Provence restaurant on Lee Road. Owner Tom Wykoff had a winery in the basement, and from that experience, Fishman became enamored of wines.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 3:16 PM, 04.05.2011

Business Briefs: Boost Mobile opens on Lee Road

Cleveland Heights residents Julian Rogers and Kenn Dowell have opened a Boost Mobile/Virgin Mobile franchise at 2180 Lee Road. The store features cell phones, low-cost cell phone service, air cards and accessories for all mobile phones.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 3:25 PM, 04.05.2011

Richie Chan’s Chinese food–honor your elders

It started with the wonton soup—basic but soothing, with delicate, silky, stuffed wonton noodles floating in a subtle, clear broth, and just a hint of ginger. Simple fare from humble surroundings, but done with surprising quality and care. This sums up Richie Chan’s. Some restaurants scream, others whisper. Some try to dazzle with trendy dishes and exotic complexities. Some are over the top with red velvet décor, silk lanterns, orchids. Forget all that here. New York City is filled with joints like Richie’s: Tiny take-out windows with a few tables for dining in, buzzing florescent lights, and Mom and Pop acting as both cooks and servers.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 10:59 PM, 03.29.2011

New name, old face on Coventry

Coventry Village just welcomed a new Thai restaurant. Its name is a reminder of an earlier gift shop on the same road, and its food a reminder of a former occupant.

In late January, High Thai’d opened at the former location of the popular Mint Café. Tony Chaichana, a partner in the new restaurant said the name plays on "high tide," a Thai expression for an opportunity that one should seize. Similarity to the name of a Coventry Road gift shop that closed in 2005—High Tide Rock Bottom—is coincidental.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 10:57 PM, 03.23.2011

Zagara’s Marketplace celebrates 75 years with improvements

The linchpin of a community is its grocery store. It’s not only where one finds apples and meats; it’s also where one finds his or her neighbors.

Pa Zagara (Charlie) opened his first grocery store in 1936 at 7001 Kinsman Ave. in Cleveland. His youngest son, Frank, grabbed the reins in 1961 and today, Frank’s son, John, continues the proud tradition of offering specialized foods and service to shoppers. Zagara’s Marketplace, now located at the corner of Lee and Overlook, began serving the Cleveland Heights community in 1988.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 9:03 PM, 03.25.2011

PizzaBOGO claims The Best Gourmet Pizza in America award

PizzaBOGO franchisee Robert Kopis captured first place and the $7,500 top prize at the 2011 Pizza Pizzazz competition with his Tuscan Fiorentina pizza. The Cleveland Heights, Akron and Hudson pizzaBOGO operator beat 52 pizza makers, including members of the USA Pizza Team, in the contest’s gourmet category held during the North America Pizza & Ice Cream Show (NAPICS) at the Columbus Convention Center.

Kopis’s award is one of the largest in a growing number of international pizza baking competitions. Surrounded by other pizzaBOGO coworkers and franchisees, he celebrated the win with high fives and hugs.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 1:56 PM, 03.17.2011

Three new businesses to open in Cedar-Fairmount district

Luna Bakery & Cafe

John Emerman and Tatyana Rehn, of The Stone Oven Bakery & Cafe, along with local pastry chef Bridget Cavanaugh Thibeault of Flour Girl, are joining  to bring specialty bakery and café-style dining to the Cedar-Fairmount district.

Isabella & Company, CPAs

Raymond Isabella announced that Isabella & Co., an accounting firm, is opening its third location, in the Heights Center Building on Cedar Road.

North Star Acupuncture

North Star Acupuncture is opening an office in Suite 324 of the Heights Medical Building at 2460 Fairmount Boulevard.

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 7:57 PM, 02.18.2011

Nationwide survey shows buy-local campaigns pay off

For the fourth consecutive year, a national survey has found that independent businesses in communities with active Buy Independent / Buy Local (BIBL) campaigns experienced markedly stronger sales growth compared to those without similar campaigns.

That information is relevant here: the Heights Independent Business Alliance (HIBA) was founded to initiate such a campaign in Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 10:52 AM, 03.01.2011

Parking struggles prompt merchants at Cedar Taylor to begin organizing

The intersection of Cedar and Taylor roads straddles the border of two cities, and the two sides of the street could not be more different. The west side of Taylor – in University Heights – features a retail plaza anchored by Sherwin Williams and Rite-Aidand with parking in the front, and a drive-through fast-food establishment recently vacated by KFC.

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 11:00 AM, 03.01.2011

Two new businesses open in Coventry Village

On Feb. 19, Big Dog Theater officially opened its doors in the Historic Centrum Theater, located at 2781 Euclid Heights Boulevard. This new theatrical performance and training facility is the creation of Cleveland actor Don Mitri.

Mint Café is back, reincarnated as High Thai’d. Around the first of the year, owner Matt Kanegkasikorn shut the doors of his popular Coventry Road Thai restaurant. The business was sold to longtime employee Tony Chaichana, a Thai native who recently earned an MBA from Baldwin-Wallace college.

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 11:05 AM, 03.01.2011

New restaurant on Lee offers something for the sober crowd

Club Sober Juice Bar & Grille, 2214 Lee Road, is a new, alcohol-free and family-oriented restaurant. Owner Mike Waddy opened the Lee Road spot three months ago on the former site of Chuck’s Diner. “I’m glad for the opportunity to be located in Cleveland Heights,” said Waddy. “My favorite part of doing business here is the friendly people I get to meet every day.”

Waddy and members of his family developed Club Sober's style menu. Along with breakfast, which is served all day, the reasonably priced menu features a variety of hearty items such as the “Waddy World” burger, Philly steak sandwiches and fried chicken. Several types of juices and real fruit “Waddy-Style Smoothies” also complement the menu.

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 11:13 AM, 03.01.2011

HIBA offers social media workshop for small businesses

Small-business owners who don't know how or why to use online marketing – especially social media – have a chance to learn the basics in a fast, easy workshop hosted by the new Heights Independent Business Alliance (HIBA).

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 11:18 AM, 03.01.2011

Local art plus business equals community

Heights Arts, under the direction of Peggy Spaeth, has been the advocate for art, artists and community collaboration in our region for more than a decade.

Recognizing that her longtime home is a region brimming with artistic and creative talent, Spaeth knew the importance of connecting these resources with the collective population, and with the unique businesses that make up the distinctive character of the Heights.

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 11:28 AM, 03.01.2011

Phyl’s Frills moves to University Heights

Phyllis Sage moved to University Heights from Huntington Beach, California early in 2009 to be near her daughter’s family, Dr. Sherilyn Sage-Ponitz, an OB/Gyn at Beachwood OB/Gyn, her husband, Dr. Keith Ponitz, a pediatrition at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, and their three daughters, Diana, Mindle and Emma.

Most people move to warmer climes when they retire. Sage had other ideas when she retired from being a legal secretary. She started Phyl’s Frills, a “made to order” hand knitting and embroidery business where she creates and knits special orders. Phyl’s Frills also has a selection of scarfs, handbags, shawls and ready to wear already knitted and embroidered.

 

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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 12:59 PM, 12.14.2010

Heights Guitars' new owners expand offerings

Heights Guitars, the instrument shop at 2128 Lee Rd., is now operating under new ownership, but it still exudes a welcoming atmosphere to accommodate regulars and newcomers. Customers amble in to chat and try out new merchandise store, which offers a wide range of instruments and accessories, and specializes in hard-to-find vintage items and instrument repair.

Former Heights Guitars owner Gregory Stiles died last February. John Carden and Jim Ross, who operate the Vintage City shop in Toledo, took ownership of the Heights store in October, which employs salespeople and repair techs.

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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 10:47 AM, 01.19.2011

Rockefeller’s opens in historic banking hall

Long time Heights resident Michael Adams is opening Rockefeller’s, an upscale lounge and fine dining establishment, in the former banking hall of the historic Heights Rockefeller Building on Feb. 1. The space had most recently been operated as a party center by building owner Jim Barle.

Adams, an attorney, is new to the restaurant business. “I was downsized from a law firm during the recession,” he said. “My wife Mazie and I love to entertain and I was fascinated with how restaurants work growing up in New Jersey.”

“The other places I looked at were cookie-cutter storefronts that I would have to build from scratch. When I saw this space, it fit my vision exactly and Jim is flexible and business-friendly.”

 

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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 2:40 PM, 01.25.2011

Flowers with artistic flair

Heights Floral Shoppe, which has been in the Fairmount-Taylor shopping district for 44 years, is the place to go for artistic, personalized floral arrangements. "I don’t design by formula. Each arrangement is a response to a particular customer and the flowers available that day," said Tammy L. Currier, who has owned the business since 2007. An appreciative customer once remarked to Currier, "Everything that leaves this store has a little bit of you in it."

Two years ago, when Currier was looking for ways to cut costs, she decided to stay in the neighborhood. Recently, she moved a few doors down Fairmount Boulevard to a light, airy space inside Paysage, an interior design store on the corner of Fairmount and South Taylor Road. She says, "This shop provides solace—the beautiful colors and wonderful smell when you walk in. I didn’t want to take that away from my customers and from people who like this shopping district," said Currier.

 

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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 11:31 PM, 01.21.2011

Big Dog Theater to open in Coventry Village

Big Dog Theater is set to officially opens its door in February in the historic Centrum Theater, at 2781 Euclid Heights Blvd in Coventry Village. This new theatrical performance and training facility is the creation of Cleveland actor Don Mitri. Each weekend, Big Dog Theater will host different shows and various forms of comedy, including national stand-up acts, sketch groups and improv. In addition, Big Dog Theater will house a training center offering a challenging selection of classes and workshops. Taught by locally and nationally known instructors, these classes will be offered to everyone from novice to the professional performer.

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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 12:56 PM, 01.20.2011