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

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