Vote for Best of the Heights in 2019

Beginning Jan. 1, Heights residents can show their appreciation for local businesses by voting for their favorites in the FutureHeights 2019 Best of the Heights Awards contest.

Since 2005, FutureHeights—a nonprofit community development corporation—has conducted the Best of the Heights 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 Bang for Your Buck. Residents are encouraged to vote for their favorite businesses online at or by using the paper ballot that will appear on the last page 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 Heights Observer.

All Cleveland Heights and University Heights businesses are eligible to be nominated.

“It’s not just about the fun it is to discover something new in a favorite shop, or to know that I’m supporting hard-working entrepreneurs that make our local economy strong; it’s about taking the kids on a walk to pick up our bread before heading to the playground, or running into neighbors struggling to pick a gift for their spouse at a store,” said Julia Kious Zabell, president of the FutureHeights Board of Directors.

“Our local businesses create deeper personal connections and make my own quality of life rich," added Kious Zabell. "Everybody talks about great trips they take where the boutiques were stellar and the food great—what’s beautiful about the Heights is that we don’t have to travel for it; it’s right here. I shop local because I want to keep it that way.”

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.

“Local, independent businesses contribute to the character and identity of our community,” said Micah Kirman, chair of the FutureHeights Planning & Development Committee. “They are not formulaic or generic, but are often as elegant, cool, practical or eccentric as the shopkeepers themselves. Whether it’s their unique atmosphere with funky music, incredible service, or one-of-a-kind specialty items, they make shopping enjoyable and worth the trip. In this age of Amazon, I hope we can all recommit to patronizing these businesses before we lose them.”

To vote in the Best of the Heights, visit or fill out and return the paper ballot. 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 12, Issue 1, Posted 12:27 PM, 01.02.2019