Best of the Heights 2021 kicks off Jan. 1

Beginning Jan. 1, Heights residents can show their appreciation for locally owned, independent businesses by voting for their favorites in the FutureHeights 2021 Best of the Heights Awards contest.

New this year: each “vote” will be entered for a chance to win a prize package of gift certificates from Heights businesses.

“Our independent businesses are so important to the vitality of our community,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights. “Their individual personalities and unique products and services are one of the things that makes the Heights such an awesome place to live! This year, more than ever, it is important to show our support so that they will still be here when we come through this pandemic.”

Since 2005, FutureHeights—a nonprofit community development corporation—has conducted the Best of the Heights Awards 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.

This year’s ballot includes popular categories from previous years, as well as new categories that recognize the innovation and perseverance of local entrepreneurs, such as Best Online Ordering and Best Socially Distanced Dining.

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.

Each person who submits a valid ballot qualifies for a chance to win one of four packages of gift certificates to local businesses (each worth a minimum of $250). Additional chances to win can be obtained with a donation to FutureHeights: two chances for $10 and six for $25.

“Proceeds will help cover the costs of the program and support the work of FutureHeights to create a vibrant and sustainable future for our community,” said Fisher, "not to mention helping support our local businesses when they need it most.”

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.

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

Sally Kramer

Sally Kramer is a longtime Cleveland Heights resident and the administrative assistant/Heights Observer distribution manager at FutureHeights.

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Volume 14, Issue 1, Posted 8:23 PM, 12.21.2020