Nominate your neighborhood’s businesses for Best of the Heights

As I read through this issue of the Heights Observer, I’m excited by how many residents are working to build community in their neighborhoods. On page 5, Susie Kaeser writes about the July 4 parade that she and her neighbors on Compton Road organized. On page 6, Brenda May writes about an impromptu public arts project that appeared in her neighborhood just prior to the Noble Neighbors Community-Wide Open House last spring.  On page 7, Art Roby writes about an initiative to support senior residents aging in place by bringing a Village in the Heights to University Heights.

These are just a few of the initiatives that residents are working on to strengthen their neighborhoods. On social media, I see neighborhoods organizing garage sales and block parties. Having just concluded the inaugural series of FutureHeights Community-Building Workshops, with 14 participants, and having launched a Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program to seed fund neighborhood-based projects (applications due Sept. 15), I am encouraged by the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Heights residents.

At our last Community-Building Workshop, several participants from adjoining neighborhoods discussed ways to strengthen the commercial districts that lay between them. While other communities may have places where one can walk, our pedestrian-scale, neighborhood-serving business districts—with 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.

One way to support these districts is to recognize the businesses that are located in them and the contribution they make to our local economy. To that end, I would like to remind Heights residents to nominate their favorite neighborhood businesses for the Best of the Heights.

From now until Aug. 31, residents can cast their votes for businesses in various categories—so you are sure to find a category that is appropriate for each of your favorites. When a business receives a “vote,” the business owner receives one free ticket to the Best of the Heights awards celebration on Oct. 7. The celebration, hosted by FutureHeights, is a lively party. Tickets include delicious nibbles, wine and beer, and music. Sure, we’ll announce the winners—those who receive the most votes—but all nominees will enjoy a chance to network with other business owners and be recognized by a grateful community.

Voting for Best of the Heights is easy. The ballot is printed on the last page of this edition of the Heights Observer. Residents can help make local businesses aware of the contest by bringing a copy of the Observer to business owners and asking them to promote it to their customers. Businesses can make copies of the ballot to display at their stores.

The ballot can also be accessed online at by clicking the Best of the Heights icon on the right-hand side. FutureHeights can also send businesses a link to use in electronic media (it is important that we send the business the correct link because there are safeguards that prevent residents from voting more than once). Contact us at 216-320-1423 or

Business owners can purchase additional tickets for $20 in advance, or $25 at the door, and residents can purchase tickets to join in the fun, too. This year’s party will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 6:30–9 p.m. at Tucker Hall, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Blvd.

Our local independently owned businesses are what give the Heights its unique character. They give us special places to walk to and enjoy. They provide goods and services that we need. When we spend our money at these businesses, instead of at a large chain store, we know that more of our money will stay in our community, contributing to a stronger local economy. I hope to see you there to celebrate our local entrepreneurs, and their hard work and dedication to our community.

Deanna Bremer Fisher

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

Read More on Opening the Observer
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 4:10 PM, 07.31.2015