Show some love for local businesses with Best of the Heights

Beginning Jan. 1, Heights residents can show their appreciation for locally owned, independent businesses by voting for their favorites in the FutureHeights 2022 Best of the Heights Awards contest.

To help support Heights businesses during this challenging time, FutureHeights will create four prize packages by purchasing gift certificates from local businesses, and each ballot will be entered for a chance to win one of the packages.

“Our local businesses make the Heights a great place to live,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights. “The global pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to local businesses, and yet many of them have been resourceful and innovative. Their individual personalities and unique products and services add to the diversity and vitality of our community. We want to see them not just survive, but thrive, and it's important for the community to show their support.”

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

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 “Made-It-Easy” Online Ordering and Best Pandemic-Safe Dining.

Residents are encouraged to vote online at, or by using the paper ballot inside 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.

Each person who submits a valid ballot will qualify for a chance to win one of the prize packages (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.

For more information, visit or call FutureHeights at 216-320-1423 or send an e-mail to

2022 Best of the Heights Awards Categories:

1)      Best “Save-the-Planet” Business Practices (Which Heights business uses sustainable business practices, such as providing compostable take-out containers, recycling, etc.?)

2)      Best “Made-It-Easy” Online Ordering (Which Heights business has the most user-friendly technology for online ordering?)

3)      Best Pandemic-Safe Dining (Which Heights dining establishment uses the best COVID-safe business practices?)

4)      Best Welcoming Storefront or Window Display (Which Heights business has the most attractive and welcoming storefront or window display?)

5)      Best Upbeat Spirit During a Pandemic (Which Heights business has created a safe, fun environment or experience for customers during the pandemic?)

6)      Best Care for the Community During a Pandemic (Which Heights business has been generous to the community during this time?)

7)      Best Innovative Product or Service During a Pandemic (Which Heights business has created innovative products or services during the pandemic?)

8)      Best “Opened-Our-Doors-During-a-Pandemic” Business (Which new business are you most excited about?)

9)      Best Cleveland Heights Business (What is your favorite or most-loved business in Cleveland Heights that might not fit in another category?)

10)    Best University Heights Business (What is your favorite or most-loved business in University Heights that might not fit in another category?)

Bonus Questions:

1)      What do you miss most about shopping/dining in the Heights since the onset of COVID? (Tell us your favorite past experiences, and what you are looking forward to doing again once the pandemic is over? 

2)      What new business would you like to see in the Heights? Why? (Let us know if you have a specific neighborhood or building in mind.)

Sarah Wolf

Sarah Wolf is the community-building programs manager at FutureHeights.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:02 AM, 01.01.2022