Vote for Best of the Heights in 2018

John Zagara, owner of Zagara's Marketplace, holds the certificate for Best Neighborhood Partner in the FutureHeights 2017 Best of the Heights Awards. Photo by Deanna Bremer Fisher.

Beginning Jan. 1, Heights residents can show their appreciation for local businesses by voting for their favorites in the FutureHeights 2018 Best of the Heights Awards contest.

In 2005, FutureHeights—a nonprofit community development corporation—established the Best of the Heights Awards to recognize the unique attributes of locally owned Heights businesses, and their contributions to the local economy. Each year, residents cast their votes for their favorite businesses by nominating them for an award in a variety of categories.

FutureHeights’ Planning & Development Committee has selected 12 categories for this year’s ballot, including Best New Business and Best Heights Vibe. Residents are encouraged to vote for their favorite businesses online at or using the paper ballot that will appear on the back cover of the January and February print issues of the Heights Observer. Voting will conclude Feb. 15 and winners will be announced in the March issue of the Observer.

All Cleveland Heights and University Heights businesses are eligible to be nominated for any of the categories.

“The Heights is fortunate to have so many locally owned businesses that contribute to the unique character of our community,” said Julia Kious Zabell, president of the FutureHeights Board of Directors. “I enjoy shopping at our local businesses because I value the expertise of the owners, who know their products and can recommend just the right thing. I also know that more of my hard-earned money is staying here in the community, not only paying local employees, but also purchasing local goods and services and contributing to local causes.”

According to a study conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, an independent business creates twice as many jobs for the same amount of revenue as the international online retailer Amazon.

“It’s great to step back and appreciate our local businesses,” said Micah Kirman, chair of the FutureHeights Planning & Development Committee. “These entrepreneurs have invested themselves in our community and made us what we are. The unique businesses we have here don’t exist anywhere else. I mean, where else but on Coventry can you get a Tommy’s milkshake?”

To vote in the FutureHeights 2018 Best of the Heights Awards, visit or fill out and return the paper ballot on the last page of the January print issue. For more information, call FutureHeights at 216-320-1423 or send an e-mail to

Deanna Bremer Fisher

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

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 2:28 PM, 01.02.2018