The importance of local businesses

Other communities may have places where you can walk; but the Heights has places you can walk to. These places are the unique local businesses that line our neighborhood commercial districts, and being able to walk to so many different places—restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, bookstores, hardware stores, barber shops and salons—is one of the things that makes living in the Heights so enjoyable.

The entrepreneurs who have poured their hard-earned money into creating these businesses are important to the health and vitality of our community. Their diversity gives us choices. A larger portion of the revenue they earn stays in the community—through taxes, payroll, spending on their own goods and services, and contributions to school programs, local organizations and causes. Owners of many local businesses also live in the community; they are our neighbors.

You hold in your hands the largest issue of the Heights Observer ever—32 pages of hyper-local news and information about things happening in your community. This issue and this community news project would not be possible without the advertising support of local businesses.

You probably picked up this issue at a local business. The print version of the Observer is available in 270 locations, in all 14 neighborhood business districts in the Heights and in surrounding areas, such as Shaker Square and University Circle.

Most of the locations the Observer is in are locally owned businesses. Some business owners give us a prominent place in their shops. We have a longstanding partnership with Phoenix Coffee owner, Sarah Wilson-Jones. She gives us a special box in her three Heights locations (Coventry, Lee and Mayfield, which is technically in South Euclid) and coupons for our distribution volunteers. Other businesses, such as Dewey's Pizza and Heights Arts, also have a special rack just for us.

Tommy Fello, owner of Tommy’s restaurant on Coventry, recently went to bat for us with a company that distributes other local publications. The company representative told us that our volunteers were illegally placing the Observer in racks they owned. This wasn't the case, but the company rep wouldn’t hear it. Tommy talked to him on our behalf and ultimately decided to give us a special basket, just for the Observer. That’s huge; we appreciate his support.

On Oct. 17, we have an opportunity to show our appreciation. All summer long, Heights residents voted for their favorite locally owned businesses—the Best of the Heights—in various categories. Hundreds of votes were cast and many businesses were nominated. FutureHeights will recognize them all at the Best of the Heights awards ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Dobama Theatre. Because, whether they came in first place or not, we appreciate the contributions that all of them make to our quality of life.

Join us for the Best of the Heights. Read local. Shop local.

Deanna Bremer Fisher

Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.

Read More on Opening the Observer
Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 10:27 AM, 10.03.2012