Vote for Best of the Heights in 2020

Bill Wort, owner of S'Wonderful Gifts, stands outside his shop on Lee Road. S'Wonderful won Best Place to Find Unique Gifts in 2019.

The Heights prides itself on being home to many locally owned, independent businesses. Beginning Jan. 1, Heights residents can show their appreciation for these businesses by voting for their favorites in the FutureHeights 2020 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 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 has selected 12 categories for this year’s ballot, including Best New Restaurant or Bar, and Best New Business.

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 April issue of the Heights Observer.

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

“Those of us who live in Cleveland Heights and University Heights sometimes take it for granted that we have so many choices to shop and eat at unique, locally owned businesses,” said Robert N. Brown, FutureHeights board president. “When my wife and I travel outside of the Heights, we quickly realize how our shopping and eating choices are often limited to national chains. In our Heights community, connecting with the familiar long-term owners and employees of our businesses makes shopping and dining more than a business transaction. For us, many of these businesses ‘feel like home’!”

According to a study conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, each dollar spent at a locally owned, independent business returns three times more money to the local economy than one spent at a chain. Because local businesses are often owned by people who live in the community, those owners have a natural interest in the community’s long-term health, and many participate in community causes.

“So much of Cleveland Heights is within walking distance of a commercial district offering a variety of businesses,” said Michael Bier, chair of the FutureHeights Planning & Development Committee. “There are many communities across the country that wish they could say that. We are so lucky to have not only nearby districts, like Noble, Cedar Lee and Taylor, but they are lined with shops, restaurants and services that are extremely valuable to our community. Supporting them is part of the pleasure of living in the Heights.”

To vote in the Best of the Heights Awards, 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 13, Issue 1, Posted 10:21 AM, 01.03.2020