'Wonderful' new gift shop opens on Lee Road

A new gift shop has opened in the space previously occupied by Simply Charming in the Cedar Lee neighborhood. Called S’Wonderful Gifts, the store opened on Nov. 17. It offers a wide variety of items, including jewelry, plush animals, ceramics, watches, purses, soaps and nail polish.

Bill Wort, 61, the new store’s owner, has spent most of his life working at museum stores. He grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, and worked at several museums there over the years. In 2007, he moved to Sarasota, Fla., where he ran the store at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Then, in December 2011, the Cleveland Museum of Art hired him to run its shop while the museum was undergoing renovations. He left after about a year.

“I have wanted to open a gift store for some time,” said Wort, who lives on Scarborough Road in Cleveland Heights. “I was looking for a place with foot traffic. Living in the area, I knew about Simply Charming, and my wife shopped there a lot.”

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 9:56 AM, 11.24.2015

Cleveland Bazaar coming to Coventry Dec. 5

More than 70 artists and crafts people will be on Coventry Road on Dec. 5, when the Cleveland Bazaar comes to Cleveland Heights for the first time. The bazaar is the longest-running indie crafts show in Cleveland. It started in 2004, and usually attracts thousands of people to its events.

The Cleveland Heights show will be indoors at 1854 Coventry Road, near Euclid Heights Boulevard. Crafts people and artists will be on the upper level, in spaces formerly occupied by Burgers-n-Beer and Kiwi Spoon. Artists will also be in the Grog Shop, which will be serving Bloody Marys. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Jenny Goe, who owns the In the 216 store with her husband, has taken part in the bazaar for many years. After opening her shop on Coventry, Goe contacted Shannon Okey, who runs the bazaar, and suggested she do an event there. Angela Hetrick, executive director of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District, helped secure the Grog Shop. In addition to the artists and vendors, many Coventry Village merchants will also have displays.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 9:47 AM, 12.01.2015

Heights merchants celebrate season with Holiday Stroll

The holiday season is upon us, and three Cleveland Heights shopping districts are planning a celebration. On Saturday, Dec. 12, the Coventry Village, Cedar Lee and Cedar Fairmount business districts will all take part in the second-annual Holiday Stroll.

The stroll will run from noon to 8 p.m., and from 4 to 8 p.m. shoppers can hop on Lolly the Trolley, at designated stops, to travel between the three districts and partake of the activities. All of the neighborhoods will offer shopping deals, plus music, movies and other entertainment. Some bars and restaurants will offer music later in the evening.

In addition, the City of Cleveland Heights will offer free parking at all city parking meters on Dec. 12.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 9:30 AM, 12.01.2015

Coventry's Houde School is a home for aspiring actors

The Houde School of Acting, at 1777 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights, opened in 2007. The school offers classes for people of almost all ages, with three classes for children ages 6–13, and other classes for teens and adults.

Jessica Houde Morris, 37, founded the school. Born in Massachusetts, Morris moved to the Cleveland area with her family when she was 18. Shortly after they moved here, she was wondering what she should do with her life, and her parents suggested that she look into acting or modeling. Eight months later, she moved to Los Angeles and began taking classes at the acting school Playhouse West.

Robert Carnegie, the founder of the school, worked with Sanford Meisner, who developed what’s called the Meisner style of actor training. The Houde School focuses on the Meisner style. “His theory was that, in order to act, you have to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances,” Morris said. “There are 10 levels of technique you have to go through to learn the entire thing.” She noted that it can take up to four years for a student to learn the Meisner style.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 2:35 PM, 12.01.2015

NextStep offfers small business owners tools for successful growth

Small business owners in the Heights are invited to apply to participate in NextStep: Strategies for Business Growth, a program of University Circle Inc., presented by KeyBank.

NextStep gives small business owners an opportunity to gain knowledge and experience through an award-winning curriculum that incorporates ready-to-apply tactics shared by fellow business owners and experts. Participants receive practical knowledge and implementation strategies on business development, finance and financial management, sales and marketing, human resources, access to new capital, and government and anchor-institution contracting. Using their own companies as in-depth case studies, business owners complete the program with a customized three-year strategic-growth action plan and new networks for business development.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 11:22 AM, 12.02.2015

Wanderlust makes one-of-a-kind jewelry in CH studio

Wanderlust Jewelers specializes in one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces of jewelry, including engagement rings, wedding rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Wanderlust’s owners, Wes and Heather Airgood, have lived in Cleveland Heights since 2010. They recently moved their studio from Little Italy to 12429 Cedar Road, above Starbucks in the Cedar Fairmount district.

On Nov. 19, 5–8 p.m., Wanderlust will hold an open-house event. “We want people to see what we do and how we do it,” said Wes Airgood.

Wes, 33, was born in northern Indiana. His family moved to Toledo when he was in junior high school. In 2005, he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and then went on to the University of Georgia, where he earned a master’s degree in fine arts, with a concentration in metalwork and jewelry design.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 12:19 PM, 11.14.2015

Heights Observer readers suggest new businesses

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 vacant building or business district. Still others mention how much they miss a business that has closed that they would like to see return.

In this year’s survey, readers suggested several businesses for the Cedar Lee Business District: a breakfast place, a diner, a deli, a smoothie bar, a high-end restaurant, a pet store, pet grooming and doggie daycare, a farmers market and a craft-beer bar. Readers also suggested food trucks and music at the green space at Meadowbrook Boulevard and Lee Road.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 3:29 PM, 10.30.2015

Cedar Center South gets a new look

Cedar Center South is undergoing a facelift. The University Heights shopping center, on the south side of Cedar Road, west of Warrensville Center Road, is owned by Inland Real Estate Corporation, which purchased it in the fall of 2013. Inland is renovating the exteriors of all of the stores, with the exception of Whole Foods and CVS.

The renovations began on July 20, and are expected to be complete by mid-November. Inland plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony when all of the work is done, but no date had been set at press time.

“We are very excited to enhance the center, and we are very pleased with the cooperation from our tenants and from the city of University Heights,” said Kristi Rankin, senior vice president of Inland.

The renovations are being done by Veteran Development and Construction. Though the center has been in existence since the 19502, no one could say when it was last renovated.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 3:27 PM, 10.30.2015

New music store opens on Lee Road

A new music store opened Nov. 1 on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. Called the Heights Music Shop, the store moved into the space previously occupied by Serendipity, at 2174 Lee Road.

The shop is owned by Darrell Branch, who was manager of Heights Guitars on Lee Road before it closed in March 2014, and Rick Szekelyi, a guitarist who has been involved with music for many years. Szekelyi had the idea for the store. He then contacted Cleveland Heights musician Charlie Mosbrook, who suggested that he team up with Branch.

The shop sells guitars and other stringed instruments, including banjos and ukuleles. It also sells effects pedals, strings and other accessories, and will offer lessons and provide full-service instrument repairs. In addition, it will hold workshops on such topics as songwriting and how to take care of your guitar. And it will host open-mic events. It plans to present in-store concerts by both local musicians and others who are in the Cleveland area for concerts and other events. The owners hope to team up with local arts-centered institutions to bring other programs into the store.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 3:24 PM, 10.30.2015

Celebrating Halloween in the Heights

It’s become a fall family tradition—celebrating the thrills and chills of Halloween in various Cleveland Heights business districts—at safe, walkable, family-friendly community events. This year, three business districts will host separate Halloween-themed events, welcoming residents to get in costume and trick-or-treat, all while enjoying neighborhood establishments.

On Friday, Oct. 23, 5–8 p.m., the Cedar Lee Business District, in conjunction with FutureHeights, will host the Cedar Lee Candy Crawl. Children are encouraged to dress in their favorite Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat at the many Lee Road businesses that will be displaying a Candy Crawl sign.

The Cedar Fairmount Halloween/Fall Festival takes place Wednesday, Oct. 28, 5–7 p.m. The event includes trick-or-treating and a costume parade, as well as entertainment by Caleb Wright, Musical Mark and Whipples the Balloon Clown. Attendees can participate in cupcake and cookie decorating, play games at the India Community Center, and enjoy merchant and restaurant specials. Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District, City Architecture and Cedar Road Buffalo Wild Wings are sponsors of the event. Learn more at the event's Facebook page.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 10:02 AM, 10.20.2015

Black Box Fix and Motorcars are among the Best of the Heights

On Oct. 7, at its 11th annual Best of the Heights Awards, FutureHeights honored outstanding businesses in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. From May to August, readers of the Heights Observer voted for their favorite businesses in 19 categories, and 241 businesses were nominated. Finalists and winners were announced at the event, which was held in Tucker Hall at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Black Box Fix edged out finalists Motorcars Mobility and Momo’s Kebab to win Best New Business. The gourmet sandwich shop, at 2307 Lee Road, occupies the corner storefront previously occupied by Sweetie Fry, and is owned by Eric and LaToya Rogers.

Black Box Fix was also named Best African-American-Owned Business. Naturally Gifted Fitness Center, located in the Heights Masonic Building at 1635 Lee Road, and Mama Joyce’s Soul Food Café, at 2238 Lee Road, were finalists in the category.

"We are honored and blessed to be recognized for these two awards," said Eric Rogers, owner of Black Box Fix. “The Cleveland Heights community and Northeast Ohio have embraced us with tremendous support and love. We love this community and everyone in it, and we will continue to grow, serve and be a great part of the blazing food scene in Cleveland Heights.”

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 2:12 PM, 10.12.2015

First phase of Cedar Taylor streetscape improvements is installed

The Cedar Taylor Business District has a fresh new look, thanks to the Cedar Taylor Development Association (CTDA), the vision of a handful of local creative professionals, and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the City of Cleveland Heights. 

Colorful new street banners, modern benches, and eclectic bike racks now grace the intersection of Cedar and Taylor roads and the adjacent blocks on the western side of South Taylor Road. 

CTDA began planning for streetscape improvements in 2013. "Over the past two years, we've been awarded $21,000 from Cleveland Heights CDBG funds, and separately we've raised $6,000, for a total of $27,000 spent to this point,” said Kevin Smith, president of the board of directors of CTDA. “We've applied for next year's allotment of CDBG funds and continue to raise money from other sources."

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 10:47 AM, 09.08.2015

Steve Presser leads life filled with toys, art and community

Standing next to a seven-and-a-half-foot-long G.I. Joe aircraft carrier, flanked by a few dozen action figures, jets and hovercrafts, Steve Presser is a man who has found his calling.

Since leaving his job as a stockbroker 24 years ago and opening Big Fun, a toy store in the artsy Coventry Village neighborhood of Cleveland Heights, Presser, 57, has become a vocal business leader, community coordinator and activist for the arts.

Reflecting on how his life has changed since his days of selling commodities, Presser said, “Now my commodities are fake dog-doo and throw-up, and lots of collectible toys.”

Wearing a bowling shirt and sporting short gray hair and a soul patch, Presser walked into Tommy’s restaurant, a vegan-friendly diner a few doors down from his store.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 2:11 PM, 08.31.2015

Cedar Taylor installs new street banners

The Cedar Taylor Development Association installed new street banners and planters this summer to create a sense of place. Next on the group's list is to install new bike racks and benches.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 1:50 PM, 08.31.2015

Ten Thousand Villages brings fair-trade rug event to the Alcazar

Ten Thousand Villages is bringing a fair-trade rug event to Cleveland Heights. Although these rugs from Pakistan are not literally made of magic, they seem enchanted for the people who made them, bringing these artisans good fortune and recognition.

Ten Thousand Villages, in the Cedar Fairmount Business District, is a local nonprofit fair trade retail store that, for the third consecutive year, will bring the popular Fair Trade Oriental Rug Event to the historic Alcazar Hotel. The event will offer more than 300 high-quality hand-knotted Bunyaad rugs for sale.

The Fair Trade Oriental Rug Event is not an ordinary sale; it is an opportunity to give recognition to the artisans who spend their hours, days and weeks weaving and knotting these unique rugs.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 1:48 PM, 08.31.2015

Bussey's Upholstery has been in CH since 1954

Bussey’s Upholstery Foam ‘N’ Fabric Inc., located at 2311 Lee Road, has been a Cleveland Heights institution since 1954, when it moved into one side of its current location. In 1975, Bussey’s expanded, taking over the space next door, which had been occupied by the New York Kosher Butcher. It has filled both storefronts ever since.

The store is owned by Mark Bussey, 63, and his wife, Marlene. His father, Irving M. Bussey, founded the store back in 1930. It was originally located at 12305 St. Clair Ave., near East 123rd Street, in Cleveland. Bussey’s sells fabric that can be used for upholstery, slipcovers and draperies, and it sells foam for virtually every size of mattress. Bussey’s also sells various tools and other supplies for upholstery work. Bussey’s will also do upholstery work for its customers, including refilling cushions. Almost all of the products it sells are made in the U.S.A.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:59 AM, 07.31.2015

Trapped! opens on Coventry

Real-life escape rooms are booming all over the world. The rooms are based on video games, where the player is locked inside a room and must explore his or her surroundings in order to escape. Players must be observant and use critical-thinking skills to escape the room. The first real-life escape room opened in Japan in 2008. The rooms quickly spread across Asia, and then, a couple of years later, one opened in Budapest, Hungary, followed by many more in Europe. In 2012, the first North American escape room opened in San Francisco, and more soon opened, first in New York, then Toronto. Now, Greater Cleveland has its first real-life escape room.

Called Trapped!, the escape room opened on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights on July 17. Its owners are Cleveland Heights resident Alan Applegate and his brother, Scott Applegate. Alan first discovered the concept in Toronto in March, when he and his two sons—12-year-old Robbie and 14-year-old Tyler—were attending a film festival.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:07 AM, 07.21.2015

Appletree Books celebrates 40 years of independent bookselling

This July, Appletree Books celebrates 40 years of selling books in the same location on Cedar Hill. Bill Rubin opened the bookstore in 1975, and, in 1990, Jane Kessler became its second owner. In July 2014, Lynn Quintrell and Alice Webster became the store's new owners, carrying on the bookselling tradition at 12419 Cedar Road.

On Friday, July 17, 5–8 p.m., Appletree is hosting an anniversary open house, featuring prosecco and hors d’oeuvres, to celebrate those 40 years. No reservation is required, and everyone is welcome to attend the event.

"Please join us as we celebrate both our history and our future!" said Quintrell.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:45 AM, 07.14.2015

MoMo's Kebab offers tasty take on Moroccan food

MoMo’s Kebab, a restaurant that specializes in Moroccan food, opened last February at 2199 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. Mohamed Abdessamad, the restaurant’s chef and owner, was born in Morocco, immigrated to the U.S. in 1990, and moved to the Cleveland area in 2007.

Abdessamad, 55, said he has always had a passion for cooking, which he learned from his mother. When he was 21, he moved from Morocco to France, then Germany and finally Russia. He spent seven years there, primarily in St. Petersburg, where he attended college and earned two master’s degrees, one in linguistics and one in education. While in Russia, Abdessamad was asked to cook a meal for the Moroccan ambassador. “After he ate, he came up to me and shook my hand and told me how good the food was,” Abdessamad said. “That was the first time I had cooked for someone, and his response really had an impact on me.”

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 5:24 PM, 06.26.2015

CH resident turns love of knitting into a career

Hunter Hammersen first tried knitting when she was in college. She wanted to knit a scarf, and she didn’t enjoy it. A few years later, she tried knitting a scarf again, and she still didn’t like it. Then, in 2007, she knitted a pair of socks, and she really loved it. Since then, Hammersen has become “totally obsessed” with knitting, and has written seven books about the subject.

“It's a total rookie mistake to make a scarf for your first project,” Hammersen said. “A scarf is really long and can be terribly boring to create. I know plenty of experienced knitters who don't like knitting scarves, and expecting a beginner to get through one is wildly over-optimistic. Socks are more entertaining than scarves because you change what you're doing as you move along. Just as you're starting to lose interest, you start doing something new. They're much better for folks with short attention spans!”

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 7:00 PM, 05.28.2015

Motorcars is named Green Energy business of the year

Green Energy of Ohio has recognized Motorcars Honda’s sustainability efforts by selecting it for the 2015 Business of the Year Award at its annual meeting in May.

This year, Motorcars installed a state-of-the-art 335 kilowatt solar canopy system, the largest single-structure solar array in the state of Ohio, at its facility at 2953 Mayfield Road. Trevor Gile, general manager of Motorcars Honda, said that the goal is energy independence: “Our solar panels will reduce our carbon footprint by the equivalent of 10 years’ worth of new car sales.”

Gile added that the solar panels will produce more than three megawatt hours of electricity per day and reduce the dealership’s grid-based energy needs by 50 to 75 percent.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 6:54 PM, 05.28.2015

How to explore potential market demand for your business idea

The Heights brims with entrepreneurial activity. Whether you’re a startup or established business with an idea for a new venture, most entrepreneurs will quickly face this question, “Who will buy my product?”

If you’re not already familiar with lean or agile development approaches, you can get the gist via some online reading. The basic idea is to quickly explore and develop market demand while refining your idea. Don’t reach deep into your pockets or fund a big, long-term development process at this point. Take fast, low-cost steps instead.

Agile development works for consumer and business audiences and all industries. It applies to healthcare, financial services, hospitality, industrial goods and consumer products. Here’s an agile way to get started with your idea:

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 6:52 PM, 05.28.2015

Cedar Fairmount businesses honored

The City of Cleveland Heights presented businesses with longtime locations in the Cedar Fairmount Business District with proclamations honoring their longevity at an event held at Nighttown on May 10. Businesses and professionals who were honored are: Bridgestone Firestone, 85 years; Cedar Hill Sunoco, 82 years; Nighttown restaurant, 50 years; Cedar Hill Antiques, 45 years; Blatchford Architects, 42 years; Appletree Books, 40 years; Dr. James Bashaw, 40 years; Dr. Javier Galvez, 38 years; Pete Axelrod, 37 years; India Community Center, 37 years; Jack Valancy Consulting, 35 years; Mad Greek restaurant, 34 years; Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, 32 years; Dr. Maureen Krieck, 31 years; Reflections, 30 years; Abstract Hair Salon, 30 years; JPMorgan Chase Bank, 27 years; Stan Harris Insurance, 27 years; Roth Stanley & Associates Therapy Practice, 27 years; and Dr. Terry Tobias, 25 years.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 10:53 AM, 05.26.2015

UH photo studio will donate portion of Motherís Day portrait proceeds to Operation Smile

Aharon Denton Photography of University Heights is celebrating children’s smiles this Mother's Day with a one-day portrait event to benefit Operation Smile.

On Sunday, May 10, the studio will donate every session fee and 5 percent of each order to Operation Smile—an international children's medical charity that performs safe, effective cleft lip and cleft palate surgery, and delivers postoperative and ongoing medical therapies to children in low- and middle-income countries.

Since 1982, Operation Smile—through the help of dedicated medical volunteers—has provided 220,000 free surgical procedures for children and young adults. For every $240 donated to Operation Smile, one child can be helped.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 9:40 AM, 05.05.2015

Best of the Heights now accepting nominations

Heights residents can vote for their favorite Heights businesses in the 11th annual FutureHeights Best of the Heights awards program. The 2015 survey begins May 1 and runs through Aug. 31.

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

Ballots for Best of the Heights awards will be available in the May, June, July and August issues of the Heights Observer, at the many Heights independent businesses and online at

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 1:43 PM, 05.01.2015

Cedar Fairmount to honor oldest businesses on May 14

The Cedar Fairmount Business District lies 150 feet beyond the border of Cleveland, and is known as the “Gateway to the Heights.” In the early 1900s, real estate developers turned Cedar Fairmount into the first planned neighborhood shopping area in Cleveland Heights, and streetcars traveled the route between downtown Cleveland and the district. 

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 1:40 PM, 05.01.2015

Bon Appetit plans new restaurant in Coventry

Café Bon Appetit—a restaurant that specializes in healthy food, including organic and vegetarian items—is poised for an early May opening on Euclid Heights Boulevard, at the south end of Coventry Road. This will be the restaurant’s second location. The first opened in 2010, at 1900 Euclid Ave., near Cleveland State University (CSU).

Cleveland Heights residents Jay Novak and his wife, Jade Novak, own both restaurants. They have lived on Superior Avenue near Euclid Heights Boulevard since 2009, and both are immigrants from southeastern Europe. Jade, 31, moved here when she was a teenager, and Jay, 39, moved here about 15 years ago. They met in Cleveland, and their first date was at La Cave du Vin on Coventry Road.

Jay is a civil engineer by profession, who learned about cooking as a child. His mother taught cooking classes, and that inspired him to get involved with food and cooking.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 7:09 PM, 04.30.2015

FutureHeights workshop seeks to help Heights business owners access capital

Small businesses are the backbone to a strong and flourishing community. They are destinations and landmarks that make our neighborhoods vibrant. As our local businesses prosper, we all prosper.

FutureHeights invites Heights businesses to attend the Accessing Capital Workshop on Monday, May 4, 4–6 p.m., at Motorcars Honda, 2953 Mayfield Road.

FutureHeights strives to recognize the investment of time, energy and money our small businesses make in the local economy, boosting the neighborhoods and improving the quality of life for those who live here. 

Access to capital, however, is an issue for many small businesses. In fact, the presumed upfront costs for upgrades or other expenses often prevent businesses from even analyzing their opportunities for improvement and growth.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 10:50 AM, 04.28.2015

Black Box Fix restaurant opens on Lee Road

Black Box Fix, a restaurant that features a variety of unique sandwiches, opened on March 27 on Lee Road, in the space previously occupied by Sweetie Fry. Eric Rogers and his wife, LaToya Rogers, own the new restaurant. Eric is the chef, while LaToya focuses on customer service. The Rogers previously ran Nevaeh Cuisine and Catering on South Green Road in South Euclid.

The couple has lived in South Euclid for the past five years, and have three children: two boys, ages 12 and 14, and a nine-month-old daughter. Eric, who’s 36, was born and raised in Cleveland, and graduated from Collinwood High School in 1997. After graduating, he took a job at University Hospitals, where he started as a clerk in the mailroom and kept moving up the ranks until he became the hospital’s supervisor of finance.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 10:32 AM, 04.14.2015

Plans are underway for 14th annual Discover Cedar Fairmount Festival

Plans are progressing for the 14th annual Discover Cedar Fairmount Festival, to be held on Sunday, Aug. 9, from noon to 5 p.m. The festival committee has added more entertainment and venues this year.

The ever-popular Arts and Crafts Sale, featuring space for local artists, crafters and vendors to sell their work, will be located on Lennox and Surrey roads, and in the Zoss the Swiss Baker’s parking lot.

Returning entertainers lined up so far for this year include Eclectic Vision and Get Back Duo. The festival committee is adding a stage this year, to highlight some of the entertainment, and is still seeking entertainers and musicians for this year’s festival.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 4:36 PM, 04.30.2015

At home in the Heights with Tony and Kathy Skettle

The Heights is full of great people—they knit us together, make us feel good, and serve our community. They are trustworthy, generous, and a positive reflection of this place we call home. 

Tony and Kathy Skettle are two of these people.   

They moved to Bushnell Road in University Heights in the spring of 1978. They raised four children—Nicole, Karl, Genevieve and Timothy—who grew up going to church at Gesu, playing outside until the streetlights came on, and lifeguarding at Purvis Park Pool. All graduated from Cleveland Heights High School and three earned degrees from Ohio University. And three are now homeowners in Cleveland Heights. 

Asked what they liked most about raising a family on Bushnell Road, Tony cited the proximity to schools, stores, library, recreation center and church.

Kathy praised the neighbors, and said, “We’ve always been blessed with the friendliest and most-caring neighbors.”

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 10:37 AM, 03.31.2015

Cedar Fairmount's monthly Second Fridays start April 10

Friday evening shopping used to be a tradition in many towns. It was a night to relax, shop and dine out after a busy work week.  Cedar Fairmount merchants have decided to restart the tradition by making the second Friday of each month special, beginning April 10.

The district’s merchants plan to extend their hours to remain open until 8 p.m. or later, and offer refreshments, entertainment or special saving in the stores, and the district’s restaurants plan to feature specials, events and other incentives.

The goal for each month’s Cedar Fairmount Second Friday is for the district’s businesses to offer unique opportunities and festivities for visitors.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 10:34 AM, 03.31.2015

Cedar Fairmount businesses are ready for spring

In Cleveland Heights’s Cedar Fairmount Business District, a new business has opened, and other businesses have added staff, expanded menus, and made other enhancements during the first part of 2015.

BowTie Medical Clinic has opened its doors at 12429 Cedar Road, Suite 25 (877-283-8863, Its board-certified medical practitioners offer same-day appointments, and a walk-in clinic that is open Monday through Friday, 4-8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., or by appointment.

This is the second clinic started by Dr. Firouz Daneshgari, principal founder, and Rob Winings and Sam Thomas, co-founders (the first is located in Broadway Heights), and they say their goal is to create a new model in health care, offering membership-based health services.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 10:31 AM, 03.31.2015

Serendipity is striving to make the world a better place

Serendipity Space, located at 2174 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, just south of Cedar Road, is truly unique. It was designed as a place where people can build connections, relationships and community and, in the process, change the world. Sue Wolpert had the idea for Serendipity a little more than a year ago. “I wanted to develop a place where people could discover ideas and create positive change through their ideas,” she said, “a place that will help us all have the life we want to have.”

After coming up with the concept, Wolpert organized a couple of events at Negative Space Gallery, which is located at East 38th Street and Superior Avenue. Then, one of her friends, Joan Greenwood, wanted to do a program called LovingKindness Week. Because it was a weeklong event, Wolpert realized she would need her own space.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:51 AM, 02.27.2015

CH native owns home-based yoga and Reiki center

Judith Eugene opened Loving Hands Yoga and Reiki in her house at 2959 Hampshire Road in Cleveland Heights in January 2011. Since then, the yoga studio and Reiki center has become very successful. Last year it won the Best of the Heights Award for Best Home-Based Business.

Eugene, 52, is a Cleveland Heights native. She grew up on Kenilworth Road and attended Coventry Elementary School, Roxboro Middle School and Heights High. She then went to Kent State University, where she majored in architecture. After graduating, she could not find a job in the Cleveland area, so she wound up moving to New York City and, later, northern Virginia.

“I always felt like Cleveland was my home,” she said. “And I kept coming back to visit.” She moved back to Cleveland Heights in 2010.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:48 AM, 02.27.2015

New shop on Coventry features works by local artists

A new store that sells artwork and other items created by local artisans opened on the south end of Coventry Road on Jan. 23. Jenny Goe and her husband, Steve Goe, are the owners of In the 216, located in the space formerly occupied by Phoenix Coffee and, before that, Arabica Coffee.

Jenny, 49, is an artist herself, while her husband works for Progressive Insurance. The couple, who just got married in December, currently live in Highland Heights, but hope to move to the Cleveland Heights area soon. Jenny lived in Shaker Heights, off of Coventry Road, for about 10 years. The couple’s dog—a mixed-breed terrier and retriever named Heaven—can often be found in the shop.

Jenny said that she and her husband had often thought about opening a shop where they could sell items made by local artists. “Because I make and sell jewelry, it was a natural idea to open a store,” she said. “And Coventry was always a cool place to go and hang out. So when I saw this space, I thought it was a really good fit. I think our store really fits Coventry, which features small shops and handmade items.”

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:14 AM, 02.03.2015

Cedar Fairmount welcomes two new businesses

Keller Williams Realty Group and an AT&T authorized retailer have opened their doors, adjacent to one another, on Cedar Road.

After a soft opening in early December, the Heights office of Keller Williams Greater Cleveland (KWHeights) is up and running at 12451 Cedar Road, with 14 agents working from the new office. The agents chose the Cedar Road location because of its “easy access” to the heart of Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Shaker Heights and University Circle.  

Keith Keifer, one of the agents, said, “Keller Williams offices are each independently owned and operated. We believe real estate is a local service industry and our customers always come first.” The agents can be reached at 877-477-SOLD.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 9:58 AM, 02.02.2015

Nighttown celebrates 50 years in the Heights

Nighttown, the restaurant located at the top of Cedar Hill in the Cedar Fairmount District of Cleveland Heights, is observering its 50th anniversary this month. On Feb. 13, the restaurant will host its biggest anniversary celebration, which will feature a concert by the Manhattan Transfer, the Grammy-Award-winning vocal quartet. In addition, the restaurant is putting together an all-star Cleveland band for a performance on Feb. 5, and is planning numerous other anniversary celebrations over the course of the year.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 4:25 PM, 01.29.2015

Stone Oven celebrates 20 years on Lee Road

On an icy January day in 1995, John Emerman and Tatyana Rehn sat nervously at one of the tables in their new restaurant and wondered if anyone would walk through the front door. “Minutes earlier, we had pulled the Kraft paper off the windows and given the café a final once over,” said Emerman. “After months of work, we now wondered if anyone would know we were there.”

Twenty years later, the Stone Oven Bakery Café has become a neighborhood landmark.

“I’m amazed,” said Emerman. “I’m not one to stay in one place for more than a couple of years. I could never hold down a job for more than two years because I’d get bored and I’d leave.”

“This has been really creative and fun,” said Emerman, who added that he enjoys owning the business, although being a local celebrity can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.

According to Emerman, the business evolved slowly. He and Rehn met as engineering students at Cleveland State University in the 1970s. They married and settled on Queenston Road in Cleveland Heights to raise two children who attended Heights schools.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 10:19 AM, 01.27.2015

Washington & Lee hosts customer appreciation event

Washington & Lee Service will host a customer appreciation party on Saturday, Jan. 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. at its facility at 2080 Lee Road. The event will feature food by the Tavern Company and music by the band Old Boy. Owner Chip Ramsey invites customers and friends to attend.

"I've owned the business for eight years now," said Ramsey. "I'm carrying on the tradition of the previous owner, showing appreciation for my loyal customers and giving back to the community."

Oldboy is a local rock-folk band whose music runs the gamut from wistful to epic folk to downright heavy rock and roll. Band members include Shawn Brewster, Michael Kinsella (FutureHeights board member), Rob Kovacs, Shelby Sangdahl and Pete Simon.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 1:47 PM, 12.23.2014

Parnell's Pub on Lee Road celebrates 18 years

Declan Synnott, owner of Parnell’s Pub in Cleveland Heights, only expected to stay in Cleveland for a year. Now, he is celebrating 18 years of owning his Lee Road business.

“I thought I’d be in and out,” said Synnott, a native of Dublin, recruited to move here from Boston by the founders of Flannery’s Irish Pub in Cleveland. “It wasn’t until I bought Parnell’s that I realized my stay may be a bit longer than expected."

On Saturday, Jan. 31, Synnott, along with his wife, Liz, and family and staff, invite you and yours to celebrate 18 years of serving great pints and good company. Whiskey specials and giveaways will be offered all night, with live musical entertainment provided by the Cleveland Heights-based band Oldboy, performing from 10 p.m. to midnight.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 10:15 AM, 01.26.2015

Young entrepreneur puts his mark on The Fairmount

Jake Orosz was growing up in the Forest Hill neighborhood when he took a part-time job bussing tables at The Mad Greek. He moved through various positions there, then on to restaurants Moxie and Red, and back to The Mad Greek before he started tending bar at The Fairmount. Two years later, at age 23, he was able to buy the place.

It’s been three years, and Orosz has made incremental improvements to the space, adding bright new signage, a full kitchen, renovations and upgrades to the interior, revising and expanding the drink and food menus, and building a reputation for himself and The Fairmount as a Heights destination.

The bar features an indoor herb garden. “It’s great to cook with fresh herbs all year round,” said Orosz. The built-in liquor closet contains a dizzying assortment of liquors, wines and aperitifs. “We’ve added more taps to accommodate the thirst for craft beer on draft,” Orosz noted.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:24 AM, 01.05.2015

CH's Chuck Falk is haircutter to the stars

Chuck Falk, manager and master barber at Eddy’s Barbershop on Coventry Road, has become a haircutter to the stars. Over the past few months, Falk has expanded his business, and his clients now include Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel and hip-hop artist G-Eazy.

Falk started cutting Manziel’s hair last July, when the Browns opened their training camp in Berea. One of Manziel’s representatives had contacted Michael Hurley, who owns a clothing store on West 25th Street in Cleveland, and Hurley recommended Falk.

The barber went to the hotel where the players were staying in Berea and cut Manziel’s hair. Since then, he has been cutting Manziel’s hair on a regular basis. “I usually do it before the team heads out of town for a road game, or before they play a game here in Cleveland,” Falk said. But Manziel doesn’t come to Eddy’s. Instead, Falk goes to Manziel’s apartment downtown.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:14 AM, 01.05.2015

Quintana's celebrates expansion with ribbon-cutting ceremony

Alex and Dawn Quintana, along with their children, Gabriella and John, celebrated the opening of their expanded space with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 8. The Heights High Barbershoppers performed as friends and family enjoyed tours of the new space and free paraffin hand treatments.

Quintana's Barber & Dream Spa now occupies two storefronts next door to each other, 2200 and 2190 South Taylor Road. The spa, which had occupied the upper floor of 2200, now occupies the adjacent storefront.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:02 AM, 01.05.2015

Next moves to a new location on Coventry

Next, the Ohio-based clothing-store chain, has moved its Cleveland Heights shop to a new location on Coventry Road. The store, which was at the north end of Coventry, next to Avalon Exchange, is now at 1812 Coventry Road, between Big Fun and Coventry Cats, in the space that was previously occupied by the Sleep Source mattress store.

Though the old Next store had a street-level entrance, shoppers had to go downstairs into the basement to get into the actual store. “We wanted to get out of the basement and get up on the street level,” said Robert Rosenthal, who is the men’s apparel buyer for the chain. “We were always a little hidden in the old location.”

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 10:59 AM, 01.05.2015

Local partnership helps small businesses thrive

In July 2013, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) opened an office in the Lee Road Library. Staffed by Monte Ahuja College of Business at Cleveland State University, SBDC provides no-cost, confidential, in-depth, one-on-one counseling for small businesses. Services, such as training, counseling, quality-based assessments, technical assistance, loan packaging guidance and preparation are also available.

Before the office opened at the library, the City of Cleveland Heights housed an SBDC office at city hall. The in-kind services provided by the city helped establish the center’s presence. After operating for a year at city hall, Heights Libraries invited SBDC to relocate to the library’s Heights Knowledge and Innovation Center (HKIC), a workspace dedicated to business and creative endeavors for entrepreneurs.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 10:47 AM, 01.05.2015

BottleHouse Brewery to expand brewing capacity

The BottleHouse Brewery plans to expand its brewing capacity at its 2050 Lee Road location. Installation of new brewing barrels will begin in January, enabling the brewery to meet increasing demand.

“Our current system is a 2.5 barrel system,” said Brian Benchek, owner of the BottleHouse. “We have been doing things on the current system no sane brewery would ever dream of doing on such a tiny system. Every month we sell more beer than the previous month, and we have reached a point where we simply can’t brew any more without setting up cots and moving in.”

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:31 AM, 12.23.2014

CH merchants plan holiday events for Dec. 13

This holiday season, three Cleveland Heights business districts are all planning events for the same day, Saturday, Dec. 13.

Cedar Fairmount, Cedar Lee, and Coventry Village merchants encourage residents and visitors alike to shop local, and are sponsoring special appearances and activities throughout the day and into the evening on Dec. 13. In addition, several Cedar Fairmount businesses are planning evening events on Friday, Dec. 12.

As part of Cedar Fairmount’s festivities, Santa and his helper will appear at Dave’s Market 2–4 p.m., and carolers will stroll the sidewalks. Visitors can register for a free holiday drawing at participating merchants.

The Cedar Lee district will offer a special screening of the Cleveland holiday classic “A Christmas Story” at 11 a.m. Tickets are specially priced at $1 each, and audience members are urged to donate canned goods or other nonperishable food items, to benefit the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:22 AM, 12.09.2014

Canterbury House is the latest in a string of investments at Cedar Taylor

Changes are coming to the Cedar Taylor Business District, including streetscape improvements and expansion of Quintana’s Barber & Dream Spa. One of the biggest changes is the renovation of what used to be called the CT Building, at the southwest corner of the intersection of Cedar and Taylor roads. In 2013, New York-based CPR Properties purchased the building, which houses 25 apartments, and six retail stores on the street level.

CPR—which stands for Community, Preservation and Revitalization—invests in apartment buildings in neglected areas of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and renovates them. According to its website, the company is motivated by the “desire young people have to live, work and create communities in authentic places with robust historical connections.”

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 12:08 PM, 01.05.2015

Shop Small and meet Coventry's independent business owners

The independent business owners of Coventry Village say that shopping small is how they built a neighborhood. In a single quarter-mile stretch, Coventry Village hosts more than 40 independently owned businesses.

This holiday season, Coventry Village Special Improvement District (CVSID) invites everyone to meet the independent business owners of Coventry through a special spotlight feature on its website and Facebook page.

The Coventry business owners gathered recently for a group photo, in which they appear in the following order:

Top row (from left): Iline MacLellan (Grums), Christina Attenson (Attenson Antiques), Larry Collins (City Buddha), Leanne van Beers (SpyngaFlows), Steve Presser (Big Fun), Tommy Fello (Tommy's), Tom Gathy (Heights Hardware), Andy Gathy (Heights Hardware), Bob Yanega (Gateway Heights Church), Doug Hayslip (Sunshine Headquarters Too), Vince Manzano (Heart & Sole). 

Front row (from left):Kathy Blackman (Grog Shop/B Side Liquor Lounge & Arcade), Suzanne DeGaetano (Mac's Backs Books), Debbie Duirk (Inn on Coventry), Rob Love (Record Revolution), Laurie Klopper (Blush Boutique), Jessica Morris (Houde School of Acting), Cosmin Bota (Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt), Adrian Bota (Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt), Bill Gresham (La Cave Du Vin), Eddy Maddox (Eddy's on Coventry/Eddy's Barbershop), Sarah Belzile (Phoenix Coffee), Chelsea McLean (Avalon Exchange).

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 9:51 AM, 12.02.2014

Dec. 13 holiday stroll planned for Cedar Fairmount district

A stroll on the sidewalks of the Cedar Fairmount Business District will get you in the spirit of the holidays with twinkling lights, holiday greens, and decorated windows filled with lovely ideas for gift giving. 

The merchants of Cedar Fairmount have stocked their stores with an abundance of gifts for the holidays, and all of the merchants are offering gift cards: consider a yoga or Pilates lesson; a manicure, pedicure or haircut; or a gift basket from Dave’s Market.

As you stroll Cedar Fairmount on Dec. 13, don’t miss Santa and his helper at Dave’s Market from 2–4 p.m. Cleveland Heights Church carolers will be singing on the sidewalks of Cedar Road and Fairmount Boulevard, and they invite everyone to join them.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 9:21 AM, 12.02.2014

Eat, drink, shop and be merry with Cedar Lee merchants on Dec. 13

Cedar Lee merchants invite you to share good cheer on Saturday, Dec. 13 at the Holiday Stroll on Lee.

Residents, customers and visitors can enjoy a vast array of festivities, shopping and merriment at 21 participating destinations along Lee Road. Experience a performance by violinist Ariel Clayton at Marotta’s, enjoy a champagne tasting at The Wine Spot, and discover hand-crafted inspiration at the Heights Arts Holiday Store. Revive, Abrash and Simply Charming will all feature accessories, jewelry, scarves and other wares that are perfect for gift giving. Purchase gift cards, find selections perfect for holiday gatherings, and celebrate the season with your family on Lee Road.

From dining to cocktails, cookies and hot chocolate, celebrate the season with a fun night out. It’s the perfect opportunity to shop small with local independent businesses, and customer appreciation is a focus of the evening. Look for giveaways, door prizes, samples, entertainment and a guest appearance from Mr. Jingeling, who will add a touch of nostalgia to the occasion.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 9:17 AM, 12.02.2014

CH merchants to sponsor free trolley rides Dec. 13

Three Cleveland Heights business districts have holiday events planned for Saturday, Dec. 13, and have arranged for free transportation to carry visitors and residents from district to district that evening.

From 6–9 p.m. Lolly the Trolley will provide complimentary transportation between the Cedar Fairmount, Cedar Lee and Coventry Village business districts.

Everyone is invited to hop aboard and enjoy shopping, dining and strolling in all three neighborhoods on the same evening, courtesy of the merchants of all three business districts. Note that children riding the trolley must be accompanied by an adult.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 9:27 AM, 12.02.2014

Mister Brisket continues to thrive

Several decades ago, butcher shops were quite common. Most people went to the butcher to get their meat products. But that has all changed. During the 1970s, big grocery-store chains, such as A&P and Kroger’s, started carrying more meat products and, as a result, most butcher shops closed. There is, however, an exception to that trend: Mister Brisket. A butcher shop and deli, Mister Brisket, located on Taylor Road just south of Cedar Road, has been around since 1973 and it is still thriving.

Sanford Herskovitz, 75, founder and owner of Mister Brisket, grew up in University Heights and still lives there. He attended Heights High and earned his bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University, a master’s degree from Kent State University, and a Ph.D. in psychology from Case Western Reserve University. His parents owned Carl’s Poultry Market, a butcher shop located at East 86th Street and Cedar Road. In 1972, his father died and his mother took over the business. She remarried and moved to Toronto, and Herskovitz, who was still in grad school, took over the business. He changed the store’s name to Mister Brisket and relocated to Cleveland’s West Side. Then, in 1978, he moved to his current location.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 9:06 AM, 12.02.2014

Heights Arts Holiday Store offers special limited editions

Heights Arts kicked off its annual Holiday Store on Nov. 7, with works from more than 80 Northeast Ohio artists and an energetic new vibe, thanks to colorful new displays and wall treatments created by Heights Arts volunteers, board members and staff.  

"This is a very exciting time for Heights Arts," said Rachel Bernstein, Heights Arts executive director. "Courtney Young, our new gallery manager, and CIA intern Julie Rauschenbach worked tirelessly to make this our most spectacular holiday artist showcase yet. In addition, artists we have shown in the past have been particularly prolific in providing us with new works and styles never before seen in our store."

More than a dozen Cleveland-area artists make their debut in the Holiday Store, including Gina DeSantis, ceramics; April Bleakney (Apemade), screen-printed wearables; Annette Poitau, abstract paintings; Denis Balogh, watercolors; Matt Fiorilli, glass sculpture; and Sandra Curry, jewelry. 

While all items in the gallery are handmade and one-of–a-kind, two works are truly unique: a limited-edition glass vase created by Sue Berry of Superior Hot Glass, and a limited-edition ceramic wall tile created collaboratively by painter Susan Danko and ceramic artist Andrea LeBlond.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 5:58 PM, 12.01.2014

A fresh look for Appletree Books

Alice Webster and Lynn Quintrell are the new co-owners of Appletree Books in the Cedar Fairmount neighborhood. Jane Kessler, now 93, founded the business and ran it for 25 years.

 “It’s a destination,” a loyal customer said of the store.

Now, with imagination, enthusiasm and know-how, Webster and Quintrell have transformed this landmark into an even more enticing hangout for book lovers of all ages. 

“It’s quirky, vintage and homey,” said Quintrell.

Memorabilia abounds, starting with the old but newly repainted wooden doors. The store windows are a stage set for hot-off-the-press fiction, mystery, biography, science, poetry, children’s books and cookbooks.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 5:55 PM, 12.01.2014

Gigi's expands and starts new program to benefit nonprofits

Gigi’s on Fairmount, a restaurant located in the Fairmount Taylor Business District in Cleveland Heights, has started a new program to benefit area nonprofit organizations. Called Magnificent Mondays, the program kicked off in July and has raised more than $1,300.

Each month, the restaurant selects a beneficiary for the program. Then, every Monday of that month, Gigi’s donates 10 percent of its gross sales to the organization.

“We’ve been so overwhelmed by the support of the community that we were looking for a way to give back,” said Gia Patsch, who came up with the idea and who owns the restaurant with her husband, Jim.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 6:49 PM, 10.30.2014

2014 Heights Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking stuffers ($10 or less)

Find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. Most will gift wrap or ship your items, too. Here are some of our favorite stocking stuffer gift suggestions:

Buddy Biscuits, Orijen, Grandma Lucy, Primal, Crumps, and Fruitables: All-natural, healthy treats for dogs and cats ($3.50-$9.95, Animal Zen).

One "Baby & Me" Session. This informal weekly program encourages new parents to get acquainted, share experiences, find support and gain information from one another and staff members ($5.00, Family Connections).

CLE Collective Letterpress Greeting Cards: celebrating the good, the quirky and the authentic in Cleveland ($5.00 each, Heights Arts Holiday Store).

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 6:38 PM, 10.30.2014