New UH clinic offers customized physical therapy

Evgenia Tararova became a physical therapist because she loves making people feel good, whether rehabilitating a patient's injury or training them for personal wellness.  She said she founded her own clinic, Physio Heights, so she can customize patient care without insurance restrictions. Treatment is based on the mix of services that work best for the client, not a pre-designated boilerplate plan.

Tararova chose University Heights for her home and workplace after growing up in Mayfield Heights.  “I chose University Heights because I love the area,” said Tararova, citing the livability, pedestrian access, and diversity. Physio Heights opened earlier this year at 2245 Warrensville Center Road. Client sessions can include a mix of manual physical therapy, neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release, dry needling, therapeutic yoga, deep tissue and sports massage. 

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 6:43 PM, 10.31.2018

Cleveland's Pilates master goes international

Local Pilates master Troy McCarty, owner and director of White Cloud Studios, has been dedicated to his craft since the early 1980s. Now, he has taken his passion and talent abroad, working as an international teacher for Balanced Body Inc.

McCarty discovered the world of Pilates while working as a professional dancer in New York City in the 1980s, eventually opening Cleveland’s first Pilates studio in 1992 in his Lakewood apartment.

As business boomed, McCarty found himself spending more time on the East Side, attending events with the orchestra or at the Cedar Lee Theatre.

“I soon moved [White Cloud] into a retail space and then opened up [studios] in Cleveland Heights and Chagrin Falls,” McCarty explained. He even moved his personal residence east, too.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 6:50 PM, 10.31.2018

Homegrown chef opens Elite Bistro on Lee

Executive Chef Alvin Harris thinks Cedar Lee is poised to be the Cleveland area’s next Tremont, a center of what he calls the “Progressive American” culinary movement, a place where you can “put on jeans and a nice shirt” and still enjoy “fine dining.” That’s why Harris and his partners chose to open their new restaurant, Elite Bistro (2195 Lee Road), in the evolving Cleveland Heights neighborhood.

“It’s getting there now. Boss Dog Brewery, that was a major plus in this neighborhood. Taste up the street. Lopez. Good pizza, good bars,” Harris said.  He hopes Elite Bistro will add to the Lee allure for foodies.

Harris grew up in Shaker Heights. His culinary career started by accident and took him through many of Cleveland’s best kitchens. He fell into cooking when he dropped out of college in Atlanta and returned to Cleveland to crash at his brother’s apartment. He responded to a Craigslist ad for a dishwashing job at Marigold Catering, and was hired on the spot. Soon he advanced to arranging dessert trays and helping catering crews.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 10:18 AM, 10.23.2018

Heights businesses invited to submit holiday gift ideas

Each year, FutureHeights publishes a Holiday Gift Guide in the November issue of the Heights Observer, to help readers discover the unique items Heights retailers offer and assist them in “shopping local first” to support the local economy.

The 2018 guide will contain listings in each of the following categories: Stocking Stuffers ($10 or less), Gifts Less Than $50, Gifts $50 to $150, Gifts More Than $150, and Gifts For the Person Who Has It All.

Cleveland Heights and University Heights retail businesses are invited and encouraged to e-mail photos and descriptions of items they would like to be considered for publication in the 2018 Heights Observer Holiday Gift Guide to Jessica Schantz ( no later than Oct. 19. Put “Holiday Gift Guide” in the subject line.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 11:54 AM, 10.01.2018

Four Coventry shops celebrate milestone anniversaries

On Sept. 29, four beloved Coventry merchants—Record Revolution, Passport to Peru, Mac’s Backs and Attenson’s Antiques—will, together, celebrate milestone anniversaries in the popular Cleveland Heights shopping district. The street will be abuzz from noon to 6 p.m. that Saturday, with musicians, face painting, balloon twisting, tarot card readings, origami book-making, in-store discounts, and more. All of the businesses will offer specials on that day, and some will offer ongoing sales or promotions.

Established by Peter Schliewin, Record Revolution is a Midwest hub of counter-cultural lifestyle. Celebrating 50 years of business, the shop is one of the nation’s oldest independent record stores. Originally filling three full storefronts, the shop’s footprint downsized in 2007. Current owner Rob Pryor noted that the business is known for its diverse and unique product base—ranging from collectible vinyl and posters to clothing, incense and alternative medicines. The shop continues to purchase records, welcoming selections in rock, jazz, R&B, punk, reggae, and hard salsas.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:47 PM, 09.03.2018

Heights business offers holistic healing

Since 2010, Heights resident and Observer contributor Judith Eugene has been teaching yoga, arts and holistic healing to older adults and people with disabilities. “I love it. I love every day that I wake up and get to do this,” reflected Eugene.

Originally, the Loving Hands Group was a solo enterprise. Eugene then found that she wanted to offer a broader scope of services, to include massage therapy and the fine arts. Currently the studio has five additional instructors who are dispatched throughout the community, teaching adaptive classes that range from cooking and henna art to fiber arts and flower arranging. The company also offers supportive classes and services for caregivers.

The Loving Hands Group provides group and individual services.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:41 PM, 09.01.2018

Heights Music Shop will close July 31

After only three years in business, Heights Music Shop will be closing its doors for the last time on July 31. All items at Heights Music Shop will be on sale at 25 percent off for the remainder of July, excluding consignment items.

According to co-owner Greg Hido, this is a difficult economic time for music shops. He explained that people have created a “society of convenience,” in which people can sit at home and order everything they need for their guitars, instead of buying the items at a store. After selling guitars for 16 years, Hido said that he has never seen the market struggle more than now. “Online has destroyed the brick and mortar store,” he said.

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Volume 11, Issue 8, Posted 9:59 AM, 07.17.2018

Home-design firm opens showroom on Taylor

“We chose to be here because we love Cleveland Heights. It's the perfect microcosm," explained Alexander Kolbe, co-founder of evoDOMUS, the contemporary design firm that has established roots on South Taylor Road.

Kolbe and his wife, Michelle, met while designing high-end pre-fabricated homes in Berlin. After some years spent doing the same in England, the couple decided to move to Ohio, where Michelle had spent her childhood. Having visited several times a year while living abroad, the couple knew that this was their favorite corner of the United States. Kolbe cited “the friendliness of the people, the laid-back nature, the picturesque neighborhoods, and the vibrant merchant districts” as part of the Heights’ charm.

With kids at Ruffing and a century home a mile away, the former site of Taylor Road Discount store was an ideal home for evoDOMUS when the firm outgrew its office on Cleveland’s West Side.

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 5:00 PM, 06.28.2018

CH's Beard fills patient-advocacy service gap

“My real passion is helping people whose voices are too often not heard—people who are struggling with how to, or are otherwise unable to, self-advocate,” said Colleen Beard. She has spent the last several years developing a Heights-based business, CareSpotlight, which provides patient advocacy, care coordination, and visitation to aging adults and their families, as well as to individuals of all ages who are living with disabilities, illness, or serious injuries.

A board-certified patient advocate, Beard is also credentialed by Keeping Us Safe to conduct self-assessments for older drivers, which is perhaps the kindest way to help a loved-one understand when it is time to retire the car keys.

Beard also offers information about driving safety and caregiving for anyone seeking supportive services for a loved one.

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 5:04 PM, 06.28.2018

June 28 workshop will provide CH business owners with expansion resources

On June 28 business owners will have the opportunity to learn how to develop their businesses in Cleveland Heights. The Cleveland branch of the U.S. Small Business Administration is sponsoring the workshop “Expand Your Business in the Heights!,” which aims to teach business owners about the resources available to them in the community. The workshop will host three speakers.

Brian Anderson, business development manager for the city of Cleveland Heights, will discuss financial assistance opportunities available from the city, including the Municipal Small Business Initiative, a performance grant available to Heights businesses that create employment opportunities. 

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 11:08 AM, 06.26.2018

July 9 coffee explains historic preservation tax credit programs

In a July 9 event open to the public, Heritage Ohio and the city of Cleveland Heights invite property owners and developers to learn how to help finance the rehabilitation of older commercial and mixed-use buildings using historic preservation tax credits.

Over coffee and doughnuts, representatives from Ohio’s Development Services Agency and the State Historic Preservation Office will introduce attendees to state of Ohio and federal tax credit programs, and explain how they can be used to make redevelopment projects more affordable.

The free event will take place at the Lee Road Branch of Heights Libraries, at 2345 Lee Road, on Monday July 9, 4:30–5:30 p.m. Cleveland Heights’ Daylight Donuts will provide the doughnuts and coffee.

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 7:57 AM, 06.26.2018

Cedar Fairmount welcomes two new businesses

Muhammad Edwards has opened his third Fawaky Burst Juice Bar & Café in the Cedar Fairmount Business district, in the former Liquid Planet space at 12413 Cedar Road.

According to Edwards, “fawaky” is the Arabic word for fruit, which is the main ingredient in many of his smoothies. The café features a tropical mural depicting sliced fruit (making one think of an exotic Caribbean beach or someplace hot), wooden barrels and driftwood-like table tops, and is Wi-Fi accessible.

Originally from New Jersey, Edwards became a clean-eating advocate while playing basketball throughout college in Miami. After college, Edwards moved to Cleveland with a few fraternity brothers who were looking to invest in real estate. He soon found out that being a landlord wasn’t what he’d hoped, although he did fall in love with the city, using it as home base for his developing line of "action" juices.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 11:04 AM, 05.22.2018

Verne & Ellsworth Hann gives free furnace to Heights resident

Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc. selected Cleveland Heights resident Ardyce Daugherty to receive a free furnace and installation in the company’s second annual Helping Hann contest.

Earlier this year, the family-owned company solicited nominations from across the Greater Heights area for deserving people in need of a new furnace. The nominations were narrowed down to a list of five finalists, from which the winner was randomly selected.

Daugherty has been a Cleveland Heights resident since 1979. A single mother of four, and grandmother to seven, she is retired but recently took a part-time job to make ends meet.

Her 50-year-old furnace stopped working during one of the worst storms of the past winter. While a neighbor was able to help her get it working intermittently, she was left without heat on many nights.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 12:12 PM, 05.29.2018

Sing and Swing celebrates 10 years

Heights residents Jennifer Woda and Rachel Bernstein attended a Music Together training in 2008 that changed their lives. Inspired by the research-based, developmentally appropriate approach to music education, the classically trained musicians decided to host classes. As educators and friends, they were excited to bring this program to Cleveland.

Thus was born Sing and Swing, a licensed Music Together provider. Classes help families bond through thoughtfully designed music and yoga curricula geared toward young children. Woda and Bernstein have made it their mission to make the program accessible to as many families as possible via numerous class locations and by establishing a Full Circle Scholarship Fund to help families who need financial assistance.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 9:50 AM, 06.04.2018

Studio How-To moves to Coventry

“We wanted a storefront so people can see all the fun that’s going on here!” said Sarah Nemecek. After a pilot year in a 3,000-square-foot space in the Douglas Fine Arts Building on Lee Road, Nemecek was excited to move into the Coventry Village neighborhood, adding a retail space where customers can access designer fabrics, yarns and crafting gear that correspond with studio classes. 

A shop and studio for "the modern maker," Studio How-To supports crafters of all abilities—from novice to seasoned. “Anything you can make with your hands, we are here to teach you,” said Nemecek.

Studio How-To hosted an open house and ribbon-cutting on April 7. Guests filled the studio, chatting about the arts and Cleveland, while they made pom-poms and other art together.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:04 AM, 05.01.2018

Blush Boutique hosts Sip & Shop fundraisers

Looking for a meaningful way to give back to the community, Blush Boutique owner Laurie Klopper recently launched a series of fundraisers that are a win-win for the nonprofit and for the merchant.

For each Sip & Shop event, Blush Boutique donates 20 percent of the evening’s proceeds to the designated nonprofit. The result is a financial benefit for the nonprofit organization that also introduces its supporters to a popular local merchant that has been part of the Coventry Village neighborhood for almost nine years.

Blush Boutique offers a pleasant venue that—during Sip & Shop events—features wine and cheese, along with a carefully curated selection of products that include clothing, jewelry and accessories.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:57 AM, 05.01.2018

YWCA honors CH's McMaster

The YWCA of Greater Cleveland has named Cleveland Heights resident Mallory McMaster a winner in its 2018 Distinguished Young Woman Awards, recognizing her as one of 50 women between the ages of 25 and 40 who are making a difference in Northeast Ohio.

McMaster and the other recipients will be profiled in the YWCA's annual Achieve magazine and honored at an upcoming private reception.

An accomplished nonprofit leader and community organizer, McMaster has experience in communications, marketing, engagement, storytelling and advocacy. She is a sought-after writer with an impressive portfolio of pieces published in national outlets such as Cosmopolitan, Teen VogueThe New York Times and Vice.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:01 AM, 05.01.2018

FutureHeights workshop will focus on signage and merchandising

FutureHeights, in partnership with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and US Bank, will host a branding, signage and merchandising workshop for business owners on Friday, April 13, 9:30–11:30 a.m., at SBDC, located on the second floor of the Lee Road Library (2340 Lee Road).

Speakers Brad and Judy Swimmer, of AlphaGraphics, will talk about the importance of having a foundation, understanding your target market, creating a strong brand identity, the value of compelling signage, and budgeting for signs and other marketing materials. They'll present ideas for generating creative ways to help your business stand out; developing skills that will help you market yourself, your brand and your product; and creating storefront signage that boosts awareness among potential customers.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:58 AM, 03.31.2018

Big Fun commemorative T-shirts benefit district

Nothing says Big Fun like a commemorative T-shirt, with artwork by Cleveland Heights artist Jake Kelly.

According to Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun, the shirts are priced at $25 but are included in the store’s Big Final Sale, bringing the price down to $12.50 per shirt.

Presser will donate $2.50 of each T-shirt purchased to the Coventry Village Art Fund.

“We are thrilled and honored,” said Angie Hetrick, executive director of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District. “Steve has always been a wonderful supporter of the Coventry neighborhood and the arts.” 

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:44 AM, 03.20.2018

Boss Dog is Best New Business

In the 2018 Best of the Heights Awards contest, readers of the Heights Observer honored outstanding businesses in Cleveland Heights and University Heights by voting, Jan. 1 through Feb. 15, for their favorites in 12 categories. In all, 174 businesses were nominated.

Boss Dog Brewing Co. (2179 Lee Road), a craft brewery and gastropub owned by Josh and Jason Sweet, prevailed over finalists Barrio and Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant to win Best New Business. The brothers opened Boss Dog in the former Lemon Grass space in November 2017 after more than 15 months of extensive renovations.

“We are doing well,” said Josh Sweet. “The community has been very supportive, and we appreciate that.” The brothers are looking forward to the spring when they can complete the rear patio. “It may look like there is a lot more still to do, but we are all ready to go. We just need to finish up the fence and get the tables and chairs out there.”

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:03 PM, 02.27.2018

Cain Park Bicycle expands and looks to the future

For generations of Americans, the local bicycle shop was a fixture of the neighborhood, a place where a kid could gain freedom and self-sufficiency by getting a bike, and where adults could continue their own involvement in cycling through commuting, recreation and competition. 

Some of those storied local shops in the Heights are gone now—think Pee Wee’s Bike Shop on Coventry or Al’s on Lee Road—but those that remain, thanks in part to the region’s increasing attention to cycling-friendly infrastructure, can be in a position to contribute to the quality of life in our communities and enjoy healthy business in the process.

One such shop is Cain Park Bicycle at 1904 Lee Road, just south of Superior Road. Owner Gary Schumacher opened the shop in 2006 in the same location that had housed Hi-Tech Cycles (whose owner, Marvin Rosenberg, had earlier owned Pee Wee’s).

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:54 PM, 03.02.2018

Merchant of Happiness: Celebrating the end of an era at Big Fun

“It is difficult when our iconic businesses move on, and we will deeply miss Big Fun, Steve and his staff,” said Suzanne DeGaetano, owner of Mac’s Backs-Books on Coventry. "Big Fun is unique and irreplaceable, and it created important family memories for a whole generation. Its closing is part of the business cycle we will have to adjust to." This sentiment rings from merchant to merchant, as retailers adjust to the idea of a beloved neighbor, Big Fun, closing.

Big Fun opened in 1991, first inhabiting the small building where Jimmy John’s is currently located. That little building had been vacant—actually quite dismal—for years.

“I knew it had to be on Coventry,” reminisced Steve Presser, owner of the beloved time capsule. “I transformed that place into something magical.” With alley lanes from Kinsman-Lee Lanes and card catalogs from the library, Presser’s collecting habits created a sanctuary of small pleasures. “It’s been a vessel—a place where people can make themselves feel better,” Presser said.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 10:27 AM, 02.13.2018

FutureHeights Small Business Workshop Series kicks off with Social Media & Retail

Politicians like to say “small businesses are the future.” In the Heights, this isn’t just a tagline. Our community welcomes many local entrepreneurs who are brave enough to blaze their own trail and meet the needs of their community.

Retail today is a more difficult venture than it was in the past. Large companies with armies of employees and stockpiles of goods seem to be everywhere, and their gravity is strong, pulling in even the most locally conscious and loyal people. Online retail enables consumers to shop without leaving the comfort of their homes. How can small businesses adapt?

In association with the Ohio Small Business Development Center, FutureHeights is hosting a series of six free workshops in 2018, intended to help small business owners increase their knowledge of current trends and give them new skills to thrive in today’s environment.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:50 AM, 02.01.2018

Swensons opens in University Heights

University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan declared Jan. 8, 2018, to be “Galley Boy Day” in University Heights, to celebrate the grand opening of Swensons. (The Galley Boy is a popular Swensons burger.)

That morning, Swensons CEO Jeff Flowers, Swensons staff, Mayor Brennan, and Bill Aurelius—the grandson of former University Heights mayor Earl Aurelius—cut the ribbon at the grand opening of Swensons on Cedar Road.

The University Heights Swensons is the first location in eastern Cuyahoga County and the biggest yet of the Akron-based business’s eight locations.

Swensons hired more than 50 employees to staff its new location, including students from John Carroll University.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:03 AM, 01.16.2018

Motorcars expands into donut business

In 2016, Motorcars’ owner Chuck Gile made Cleveland Heights home to the world’s first carbon-neutral car dealership.

This year, Motorcars is bringing another first to Cleveland Heights—though not as environmentally significant as the installation of its 1,240 solar panels—opening the region’s first full-service donut and coffee shop to be located on the grounds of a car dealership.

Daylight Donuts, located at the front of the former Pontiac building at 3077 Mayfield Road, just east of Motorcars Honda, is scheduled to have its grand opening on Jan. 26, with a soft opening the day before.

The donut shop will offer inside sit-down space as well as a drive-up window. Plans call for it to be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, and the Gile family expects that Daylight Donuts will employ about 18 full- and part-time employees.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 2:12 PM, 01.16.2018

Mister Brisket adds dine-in space

Mister Brisket customers will soon have the option of dining in, as the business is poised to complete its first-ever physical expansion in its—so far—44 years of business at 2156 S. Taylor Road.

Since early December, construction has been underway to expand the butcher and sandwich shop’s space into an adjacent storefront, 2154 S. Taylor Road, last occupied by a precious-metal dealer. The new space, which has a target opening date of sometime in mid-February, will feature tables and seating for 25.

Hank Kornblut, who runs the business that his stepfather, principal owner Sanford Herskovitz, opened in 1974, said he had been weighing an expansion for years—“every time space on either side turned over.”

The addition will add 1,000 square feet, effectively doubling Mister Brisket’s space.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:41 AM, 02.01.2018

Vote for Best of the Heights in 2018

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.

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

V&E Hann Inc. seeks nominations for furnace giveaway

For the second consecutive year, Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc. will give away a furnace, including installation, to someone in need. Chris Hann, co-owner of the Cleveland Heights-based heating, cooling and plumbing contractor, is asking for nominations from the community.

“Last year, it was our honor to install a new furnace for someone so deserving," said Hann. "Again, we want to share our good fortune by continuing to give back to the community. We are hopeful people in our community will raise their hand to let us know if they or someone they know is in need of a new furnace.”

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 2:24 PM, 01.02.2018

Dunn and Cavender open new fitness center

After a year of planning, business partners Lisa Dunn and Tim Cavender—both professionally certified fitness instructors and Cleveland Heights residents—have opened a new strength-training fitness facility. Their new business, 216 Fitness, aims to help individuals build a fun, supportive community, empowered by strength and confidence. Located at 1415 South Belvoir Blvd., at the corner of Mayfield Road in South Euclid, 216 Fitness plans its grand opening celebration for Saturday, Jan. 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Heights residents may know Dunn as the former owner of Revive, the fair trade boutique that had operated on Lee Road since 2006, but closed in April 2017.

While operating Revive, Dunn developed health issues that she sought to relieve through a strength-training regimen. This, in turn, led her to become a fitness trainer at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, where she met Cavender, director of personal training services, who has a degree in exercise physiology from Cleveland State University. 

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:48 AM, 01.03.2018

Support district's businesses and earn Coventry Cash

This holiday season, shoppers can earn a $10 Coventry Cash Coupon for every $50 they spend on a single receipt at participating Coventry Village locations. The coupons can be used at participating locations in January.

The promotion will be offered on select weekend dates through the end of the year. Simply look for the Coventry Cash Coupon signs posted outside the parking garage on Coventry Road. 

Valid day-of-purchase receipts can be redeemed for Coventry Cash Coupons from noon to 6 p.m. with the Coventry Village Holiday Ambassadors, who will be stationed outside the main parking garage. (Please note, a limited number of Coventry Cash Coupons will be distributed.)

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 10:09 AM, 12.04.2017

Kensington Pub to open in former TavCo space

Longtime Cleveland Heights residents and restaurant enthusiasts Brad Po and Jeff King took their time shopping around for the perfect spot in which to open their own pub and eatery. When the two storefronts at the corner of Lee and Kensington roads, formerly occupied by The Tavern Company (before that business moved across and down Lee Road), became available, both men saw it as an opportunity to revive the iconic, local space as a neighborhood hangout.

Friends for more than 20 years, Po and King worked together previously at local and regional establishments, including Johnny's Little Bar, Red, and Moxie. King currently manages La Cav du Vin in Coventry Village.


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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 10:55 AM, 10.31.2017

Gift guide puts focus on the Heights

The Heights community is full of unique, independently owned businesses, and the holiday season is the most important time of year for them. For most, holiday sales determine if they are in the red or black for the year—and, for some, if they can continue to operate.

Studies show that holiday shopping at locally owned, independent businesses generates far more economic benefit in local communities than money spent online, at chains, or at businesses outside of the community.

A strategic planning firm, Civic Economics (, calculated that every $100 spent at a local business in one Chicago neighborhood re-circulated $68 in the local economy, compared with just $43 for $100 spent at a chain store in the same neighborhood.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 2:51 PM, 11.01.2017

Studio How-To brings handmade to the holidays

Studio How-To owner Sarah Nemecek hopes to help people enjoy the holiday season even more by offering special gift-making classes. In her studio at 2140 Lee Road, Nemecek provides instruction on how to make things for friends and family, both for the pleasure of gift giving and for the experience of learning and socializing with others while creating.

Nemecek’s goal is to remove the stigma of the handmade gift, replacing the weird-colored, ill-fitting handmade sweater with cool, modern, useful handmade gifts that anyone would be thrilled to receive, proud to give, and capable of making.

For the past several years, Nemecek has been making and exchanging handmade gifts, activities and tools with her family and friends.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 9:56 AM, 11.02.2017

Small Business Development Center hosts accelerator and marketing workshops

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC), located in the Lee Road Library, is hosting two workshop series this fall.

The Modern Side Hustle series begins on Oct. 10. The three-part workshop will help business owners define their brand, establish a digital presence, and learn about modern marketing tools used to grow businesses and develop products.

SBDC will also host the Accelerate Your Business Launch Lab. If you are considering starting your own business, this workshop can help you determine if you have a valid business idea and a future as a business owner, through hands-on lab sessions, consultations and workshops. 

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 4:33 PM, 10.01.2017

New restaurants open in Cleveland Heights

Two restaurants, Seafood Shake and Sylk's Soul Fix Cuisine, are among the new businesses that have opened in Cleveland Heights this summer.

Seafood Shake opened on July 21, at 1852 Coventry Road, serving seasoned, boiled seafood.

At 2142 Lee Road, Fix Bistro's owner Eric Rogers continues his expansion of the "Fix" brand with the opening of Sylk's Soul Fix Cuisine (pictured here).

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 5:05 PM, 09.03.2017

MetroHealth expands Severance facility with addition of short-stay hospital

MetroHealth has announced plans to convert its Cleveland Heights facility into a community hospital that will focus on caring for patients who benefit from shorter hospital stays.

Construction is set to be completed by the end of 2017, with the facility ready for patients by January 2018.

MetroHealth’s current Cleveland Heights medical office, located at 10 Severance Circle, has an emergency department, lab, pharmacy and radiology services. It will become a community hospital with the addition of 12 single-occupancy patient rooms.

"We are so pleased to see MetroHealth expanding service in Cleveland Heights,” said Tanisha Briley, Cleveland Heights city manager. “This investment will not only provide new health care options for our residents and the surrounding communities, it will also create economic benefits in a high priority area for redevelopment in our city."

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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 12:16 PM, 06.26.2017

Studio How-To invites community to June 22 open house

Studio How-To, a new handcraft studio school, opened on June 1 on the second floor of the Douglas Fine Arts Building, at the corner of Cedar and Lee roads. The space offers workshops and private parties for both adults and children, teaching the how-to of leather-working, sewing, knitting, block-printing, embroidery, jewelry-making, journaling, working with clay, and more.

Sarah Nemecek, owner of Studio How-To, invites community members to attend the studio’s first monthly open house on Thursday, June 22, 4–7:30 p.m.

Nemecek founded Studio How-To as a way to share the knowledge and love of making that she has developed across several disciplines. A self-taught artist, Nemecek grew up in a family of makers and has been sewing, quilting, painting and drawing since she was 5.

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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 1:50 PM, 06.16.2017

Coventry Village pop-up shop offers wearable pieces of Clevelandís past

Now open until at least Aug. 15, the former American Apparel space on Coventry Road has transformed into a showroom of vintage knitwear from The Ohio Knitting Mills—one of the many companies that once made Cleveland a center of textile manufacturing.

Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun, is one of the partners in the pop-up venture, along with Debbie Gulyas, who for many years owned Renaissance Parlour, a Coventry vintage clothing boutique.

According to Presser, whether you call it “new old stock”—a vintage toy term—or “deadstock”—in vintage clothing parlance—all of the merchandise is in new, unworn condition. The styles date from the 1950s through the 1980s, and the knits are made from synthetic materials (remember Orlon?), 100 percent cotton and wool, and other fabrics.

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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 11:30 AM, 05.23.2017

Business succession planning workshop to be held June 9

Financial planner Seku Shabazz will lead a workshop on business succession planning for small business owners on Friday, June 9. Sponsored by FutureHeights and the Small Business Development Centers of Ohio (SBDC), the workshop will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Ohio SBDC at Cleveland State University’s location on the 2nd floor of the Lee Road Library’s Knowledge and Innovation Center, 2340 Lee Road.

“The workshop aims to help local merchants, specifically ones who are ready to retire or leave their business and are concerned with what will happen with their business in the future,” said Micah Kirman, chair of the FutureHeights Planning & Development Committee, which is organizing the workshop. “Seku Shabazz will look to show business owners that there are possible options that they can take when they feel that they are ready to leave their business or retire. These options can consist of anything from handing the business over to a loyal employee or selling the business to a family member.”

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 7:09 PM, 06.02.2017

Eastwood Furniture opens loft to exhibiting artists

The Eastwood Furniture store has expanded its space, taking over the second floor of the building at 3451 Fairmount Blvd., and creating a pop-up shop and gallery called the Loft at Eastwood.

Eastwood’s owners, Ron and Angie Nandor, first explored the concept last fall, when Madelaine Mavec, a Cleveland Heights artist, displayed and sold her paintings above the furniture store. Mavec, who calls herself an experimental painter, will return to the loft this fall.

"We want to use the space to showcase local artists," said Ron Nandor. He added that the artists choose whether or not they want to sell any of their work while it is on display at Eastwood.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 7:05 PM, 06.02.2017

Anytime Fitness hosts free workouts in Cain Park

Parents often urge their children to “turn off that television set and go outside and play.” The staff of Anytime Fitness in University Heights believes everyone could use a little more active fun; that’s why the gym is hosting playful exercise events at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights each Saturday in May, 9–10 a.m. Everyone, not just Anytime Fitness members, is invited to participate.

“Somewhere along the line, people started believing that exercise had to be hard work,” said Shaun Yanulaitis, Anytime Fitness manager. “That’s simply not true. Many forms of exercise, especially outdoors on a beautiful spring day, will leave you busting-a-gut laughing—and we aim to prove it.”

A certified personal trainer will lead each of the four consecutive May Free Workouts on May 6, 13, 20 and 27.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 6:31 PM, 05.01.2017

Heights Music Shop offers new line of Cleveland-made guitars

The Heights Music Shop, located at 2174 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, is the only store in Greater Cleveland to carry a new line of guitars, Atilla custom guitars, which are made in the Cleveland area. 

The guitars are created by Atilla Csapo, who lives in Parma. "He makes all of the guitars by hand," said Greg Hido, general manager and partner at Heights Music. "The guitars are definitely high-quality and custom-made, and his attention to detail is up there."

The pickups on the guitars are made by a man who lives in Rocky River.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 10:15 AM, 05.03.2017

Cedar Fairmount introduces parking changes

In conjunction with The Fairmount Wine Bar and Barrio restaurant, ASV Services, a valet provider, has established valet parking in the Cedar Fairmount district on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 4–9 p.m. This convenience will be available to those who wish to visit any of Cedar Fairmount businesses and don’t want to park themselves.

A drop-off and pick-up station is locaged outside the Heights Medical Building at 2460 Fairmount Blvd.

Each weekend through October, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the city of Cleveland Heights has granted free parking in the Cedar Fairmount District, wherever there are parking meters—in the public garage, parking lots and at street meters.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 11:22 AM, 04.25.2017

CLE Urban Winery expands its operation

CLE Urban Winery, located at 2180B Lee Road, has expanded into adjacent space. The expansion will not increase the size of the public tasting room, but will enable the winery to increase its on-site production and storage space.

“Everything is going very well for us, and I am ready to take the next step,” said Destiny Burns, owner of the winery.

She has a license that enables her to self-distribute wine in the state of Ohio. “We really want to expand our production and bring on more businesses who will sell our wine.”

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 11:22 AM, 03.21.2017

Revive on Lee Road to close in April

Lisa Dunn, owner of Revive, has announced that the independent fair-trade boutique will close in April. Dunn opened the store, at 2248 Lee Road, in 2006.

In a press release, Dunn cited the 2016 street construction on Lee Road as a factor in the store’s closing, stating that several months of reduced traffic flow and sales volume left the business unable to recoup those losses.

“After 10 years doing business in our wonderful community of Cleveland Heights, this was not an easy decision to make,” said Dunn. “We are grateful, both to our customers for their decade of support, and to the artisans we work with for their meaningful partnerships. Our hope is that our patrons continue to support fair trade and social justice in any way they can.”

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 10:56 AM, 03.08.2017

Barrio opens in Cedar Fairmount district

Barrio, a new restaurant, opened on Feb. 28 in the Cedar Fairmount district, in the space formerly occupied by longtime tenant the Mad Greek. The new restaurant is the fifth Barrio in Greater Cleveland, and the first to open on the East Side.

“Barrio means neighborhood in Spanish,” said Sean Fairbairn, co-owner of the chain, along with Tom Leneghan. “We thought this was a really nice neighborhood. There is good energy and good people. There is also parking in the back, behind the restaurant, and there are colleges nearby.”

Jake Hawley, director of operations, noted that Barrio often draws a younger demographic, and having both Case Western Reserve University and John Carroll University nearby was a big factor in the location’s selection. Fairbairn and his partner looked at about 100 locations before selecting Cedar Fairmount.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 4:48 PM, 03.06.2017

Heights Observer readers suggest new businesses for the Heights

Each year when FutureHeights conducts its annual Best of the Heights Awards survey through the Heights Observer, the last question asks readers to suggest businesses that they would like to see open up shop in the Heights. Because it is an open-ended question, the responses vary widely. Some suggest specific businesses by name, others suggest an idea for a particular business district or location. Still others suggest ideas for activities that they would like to have access to in the Heights, whether they can be provided by a for-profit business or not.

In this year’s survey, readers suggested several new food-related businesses that they would like to see locate in the Heights.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 10:25 AM, 03.07.2017

CLE Urban Winery is Best New Business

In the 2017 Best of the Heights Awards contest, readers of the Heights Observer honored outstanding businesses in Cleveland Heights and University Heights by voting, Jan. 15 through Feb. 15, for their favorites in 12 categories. In all, 195 businesses were nominated.

CLE Urban Winery (2180B Lee Road), producer and retailer of handcrafted wines, edged out finalists Greedy Girl and Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant to win Best New Business.

Owner Destiny Burns said that winning the award was exciting, humbling and validating. “I feel like we are connecting with the community. My vision for this place was a community space, and that is really what it is becoming and it’s wonderful to see,” she said.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 10:30 AM, 02.28.2017

Taylor Road ceramic shop opens

In December, Asya Palotova, a designer and ceramist, opened a unique new store and studio at 2114 South Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights.

Called Gleena Ceramics, the store features tableware, including cups, plates, saucers and vases, designed and produced by the store’s owner, Palatova, a former art director at Martha Stewart Living magazine.

Palotova’s products are available in stores in 16 states, and online, and have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living, House Beautiful, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, InStyle and Martha Stewart Weddings, among other magazines.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 2:34 PM, 02.28.2017

Heights company helps local businesses thrive in digital age

Two Cleveland Heights residents operate Local Biz Guru, a company that helps small businesses improve their online presence, to thrive at a time when online shopping has surpassed in-store shopping.

“Our entire business is predicated on helping local businesses be found online,” said Nachum Langsner, who owns the company along with Aaron Garfunkel. Langsner and Garfunkel started the business in August 2016. Prior to that, both men worked for a dental-supply company. In 2008, the company asked Langsner to build a website. “I had to very quickly learn how to do that,” he said. “But it turned out to be a great hands-on learning experience, and the project went very well.”

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 4:44 PM, 02.27.2017

New owner takes over Coventry Panini's

The Panini’s restaurant franchise on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights has a new owner, Michael Mercer, who purchased the restaurant last November.

Mercer, 58, lived in Cleveland Heights for much of his life; as a child, he lived on Demington Drive for many years. His father, Robert Mercer, started the children’s hospital at the Cleveland Clinic.

Mike Mercer attended Roxboro Elementary and Junior High schools, and Heights High. At Kent State University, he majored in business and law enforcement, then worked for the Department of Safety and Security in the Cleveland Public Schools for eight years.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 10:48 AM, 02.14.2017

Bakery expands the Fix brand on Lee Road

Robert and Allison Craig are the co-owners, along with Eric Rogers, of Sweet Fix Bakery, at the corner of Lee and Silsby roads. The bakery occupies the space that previously housed Rogers’ restaurant, Black Box Fix, which moved to 2195 Lee Road and is now called the Fix Bistro.

Rogers originally intended to open Sweet Fix Bakery himself, but changed his plan when Robert Craig, Rogers' wife's cousin, expressed an interest in opening a bakery.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 12:14 PM, 01.31.2017

Japanese martial arts school opens in Cleveland Heights

After 30 years of renting space from local universities and gyms, The Cleveland Kendo Association decided it was time to establish a permanent location for its dojo. On Dec. 1, it opened a school in Cleveland Heights, at 2110 South Taylor Road.

The Cleveland Kendo Association provides expert instruction in the Japanese martial art of Kendo, which descended from traditional swordsmanship (kenjutsu) and uses bamboo swords (shinai) and protective armor (bōgu). "Ken" is from the character meaning sword; the character for "Do" includes the meaning of way or path—which translates as "the way of the sword."

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 9:27 AM, 01.24.2017

Atma Center celebrates 20 years

Cleveland’s longest-running yoga studio, the Atma Center, is celebrating 20 years of health, education and community service in 2017.

Its director, Beverly Singh, worked at the Cleveland Clinic before opening the Atma Center on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. She had become seriously ill; her internist suspected Grave’s disease, fibromyalgia and lupus, and prescribed several medications.

While starting the regimen of prescriptions, Singh took a crash course of daily yoga from a friend, who flew all the way from Australia to teach her. After three months, Singh was off several of her medications and had reduced her dosages of the rest. She was sold on the healing power of yoga, and started teaching in her living room to share its benefits with others.

The Atma Center focuses on accessible stretches, breath techniques and meditations, and on the therapeutic benefits of yoga. Group classes, private sessions and workshops consistently prove the studio’s motto of providing “Yoga for Every Body.”


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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 10:50 AM, 01.17.2017

Signage and merchandising workshop is set for Jan. 27

FutureHeights and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will host a Signage and Merchandising Workshop for Businesses on Friday, Jan. 27, from 9 to 11 a.m., at the Small Business Development Center, located on the second floor of the Lee Road Library (2340 Lee Road).

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 10:33 AM, 01.03.2017

FH's Best of the Heights awards return in 2017

Since 2005, FutureHeights—a nonprofit that inspires and facilitates collaboration and empowerment in our community—has conducted the Best of the Heights awards to recognize the unique attributes of locally owned Heights businesses, and their contributions to the local economy.

FutureHeights asks residents to cast their votes for their favorite businesses by nominating them for an award in a variety of categories, such as Best New Business and Best Interior Décor. After a one-year hiatus, FutureHeights is bringing the program back with the theme Show Heights Businesses Your Love.

Beginning in January, residents can show their love for Heights businesses by voting for them in 12 categories.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 12:00 PM, 01.03.2017

Coventry Village embraces the holiday spirit with two December events for families

The Coventry Village Special Improvement District (SID) invites everyone to get in the holiday spirit and visit Coventry Village for two fun, free, family-friendly events planned for December.

On Saturday, Dec. 10, noon to 11 p.m., the popular Coventry Village Holiday Festival returns.

This year, Coventry Village will reward visitors for shopping local by offering $10 in Coventry Cash for every $50 shoppers spend on a single receipt at a participating merchant location. The Coventry Cash shoppers earn during the Holiday Festival can be spent in January at participating district businesses.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 12:47 PM, 12.02.2016

V&E Hann seeks to give free furnace to a needy family

On Jan. 31, Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc. will give away a furnace, including installation, to someone in need. Chris Hann, vice president of the Cleveland Heights-based heating, cooling and plumbing company, is asking for nominations from the community.

“We want to share our good fortune by giving something back to the community that’s been so good to our family all these years,” he said. "We're calling it a 'Helping Hann.'"

Nominations are being accepted on the company website ( through the end of January, for individuals or families who live in the extended Heights area. The winner will be selected based on a range of considerations, such as age, physical disabilities, financial challenges and military service.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 12:43 PM, 12.02.2016

CH resident's company makes unique bike-repair tool

Brandon Hirokawa first became interested in bicycles in 1987, when he was living in New Orleans, where he was born and raised. “I was a national-class swimmer, but everyone was growing over 6 feet tall,” he said. “I stayed at 5 feet 6 inches tall, and I had to find a new sport.”

One of his father’s friends raced bikes, and he suggested that Brandon give that a try. He liked biking, and now, almost three decades later, he is the owner of Hirobel LLC, a company that produces frame clamps that bike shops can use in repairing aero carbon-fiber bicycles.

Hirokawa, who’s 43 and lives in Cleveland Heights, explained that carbon-fiber bikes now make up more than 20 percent of the bike market. While most bikes are made of alloy or metal, the carbon-fiber bikes are lighter in weight. “They are made of carbon, which is similar to fiberglass, and they wind up being very light,” explained Hirokawa. However, they can also be damaged when they are being repaired.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 11:36 AM, 11.30.2016

Cedar-Taylor Garage closes after 78 years on Cedar Road

Cedar-Taylor Garage & Autobody, located just south of the intersection of Cedar and Taylor roads in University Heights, closed on Oct. 28. The car repair shop had been in business at that location since 1938.

The garage’s most recent owners were Bill Tammarino and Mark Stanos, who bought the shop in 1986. Al Kus was the original owner of the business, and Bill Decapite was its second owner.

Tammarino, 61, said he and Stanos decided to close the shop because the auto-repair business has “changed a lot in the last 30 years.”

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 2:54 PM, 11.07.2016