Heights HVAC company picks recipient in annual furnace giveaway

Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc., the Cleveland Heights-based heating and cooling company, selected Heather Kwedder of Willoughby as the winner in its third annual Helping Hann Furnace Giveaway. The company provided her with a free furnace and installation, including labor and materials.

Kwedder’s 23-year-old son, Rick, is chronically ill and has been hospitalized on and off throughout his life. While her husband, John, is Rick’s full-time caregiver, Kwedder has had to take leaves of absence from her nursing job when lengthy hospital stays require more attention than one person can provide.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 9:50 AM, 04.10.2019

Lusty Wrench closes after 40 years

Cleveland Heights has many intelligent, knowledgeable, skilled, dedicated and civic-minded entrepreneurs. Sam Bell, who has been one such local treasure for nearly 40 years, made the decision to close his business, The Lusty Wrench, as of mid-March.

Bell started The Lusty Wrench in 1979, after having taken his own car to be serviced before a road trip. Despite the “trip check,” the car broke down en route. The frustration of having just paid a professional to attend to the car to prevent such misery and inconvenience spurred Bell to wonder, “Is it feasible to run an auto repair shop based on competence, honesty and integrity?” He opened The Lusty Wrench the next week.

Bell said of his business, “Our goal has always been to provide excellent mechanical repair and maintenance services to all our automotive customers. We’re in the service business, so our job is to say, ‘Yes.’”

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 2:18 PM, 04.01.2019

Paws CLE and Lox, Stock and Brisket are 2019 'best new businesses'

In the 2019 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. Lox, Stock and Brisket, a contemporary Jewish deli in University Heights, is the winner in the Best New Restaurant or Bar category, and PawsCLE, a doggy daycare and boarding facility in Cleveland Heights, is the winner in the Best New Business (other) category.

Lox, Stock and Brisket, 13892 Cedar Road, is owned by Chef Anthony Zappola, a Cleveland native who returned to his hometown after starting a successful Asian fusion restaurant in Las Vegas. Zappola, who is of Italian heritage, is tickled that the restaurant has become so popular after only 10 months in business. “I didn’t expect it,” he said. “I thought perhaps we would attract the hipsters, but I’m thrilled that the locals like us so much.” The restaurant, which is closed Mondays, is open for breakfast and lunch, serving Jewish deli favorites with a contemporary twist.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:15 PM, 04.01.2019

CH is using new tools to attract new businesses

In 2017 and 2018, Cleveland Heights welcomed 95 new businesses to the city. From law firms to doggy daycare, from craft breweries to art galleries, many small businesses are choosing Cleveland Heights as their home. With more than 500 small businesses, Cleveland Heights is an epicenter of small, locally owned businesses in Northeast Ohio.

The city has expanded the tools and incentives it uses to attract and retain businesses, helping to make Cleveland Heights a desirable location for entrepreneurs. The Economic Development Toolbox that Cleveland Heights offers can help meet the financing needs of the business community, including loan financing, grants, rebates and tax incentives.

The city’s Commercial Loan Program provides gap financing on a project, in conjunction with a bank loan and owner equity. In order to receive funding, projects must create at least one low- to moderate-income job for every $35,000 lent. The Commercial Loan Program assisted with financing Boss Dog Brewery’s brewing equipment when it opened on Lee Road in 2017, helping launch that  new business.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 9:45 AM, 03.26.2019

Heights-Hillcrest Chamber of Commerce announces online commercial property database

The Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce (HRCC), which represents the cities of Cleveland Heights, Lyndhurst, Richmond Heights, Shaker Heights, South Euclid and University Heights, announced last month that a commercial property database is now available on its website, at

"The database is a comprehensive listing of available commercial properties within our region," said Karen Schaefer, HRCC executive director. "We're so proud to partner with our cities to make this available."

Commercial brokers and businesses can access the database for information about the physical property, demographics, and the appropriate city representative's contact information. Brokers can visit each city's website for a listing of properties in each specific community, or can visit the chamber's website to see a listing of properties in all six communities.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:20 AM, 03.18.2019

FutureHeights announces 2019 Best of the Heights Award winners

In the 2019 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, 178 businesses were nominated.

Winners and Finalists in the FutureHeights 2019 Best of the Heights Awards contest are:

Best New Restaurant or Bar
Lox, Stock and Brisket
Boss Dog Brewing Co.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 7:06 PM, 02.25.2019

Cleveland Running Co. merges with like-minded store

Owner Jeff Fisher is excited to announce that his Lee Road business, Cleveland Running Company, is merging with the Achilles Running Shop, a like-minded regional running store with locations in Mentor and Erie, Pa. As of press time, the store's new name had yet to be finalized.

The merger came about quickly. Fisher and David Jacobson, general manager of Achilles, met in December 2018. Familiar with one another through the industry, it was business-sector kismet. The future partners began discussing the merger in January 2019. By early February, the partnership was designed, the lease transferred, the inventory management software in use, and the management team was enjoying day-to-day collaboration.

“It’s a win-win,” said Fisher, who is excited for customers to experience the expanded inventory, expertise and programming that is on the horizon.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 1:02 PM, 03.03.2019

Blush Boutique Coventry to close March 31

On March 31, after nearly a decade on Coventry Road, Blush Boutique will be closing the doors to its small, intimate Cleveland Heights boutique.

Owner Laurie Klopper, a Cleveland Heights resident, said she is closing to focus on her other location in Chagrin Falls and because sales at her shop on Coventry Road have greatly diminished.

“People just aren’t coming to Coventry to shop and walk around anymore,” said Klopper. Indeed, American Apparel, Winking Lizard, Chipotle, Big Fun and Piccadilly have all left in the past few years. “It’s an alarming trend on what was once a vibrant and eclectic street,” she added.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 7:01 PM, 02.25.2019

Kensington Pub owners have opening date in sight

More than a year after they first hoped to open, in December 2017, the co-owners of Kensington Pub (2260 Lee Road) now hope to open within the next month—or two. Brad Poe and Jeff King faced bigger remodeling challenges than they expected in opening their first restaurant—what Poe called a "perfect storm of obstacles."

“The original proposed opening was totally unrealistic in retrospect,” said Poe. “We encountered more renovations than we anticipated, especially since it was our first foray into restaurant ownership.”

He noted that he's  “very pleased with the exterior renovations, even with construction delays.” The exterior work was financed by the building’s landlord as part of a block-long renovation.

The project has been a labor of love for the two longtime Cleveland Heights residents who have more than 40 years of restaurant experience between them.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 4:36 PM, 02.01.2019

Mouriño joins Cedar Fairmount clinic

Dr. Laura Mouriño has joined the Options Naturopathic Clinic practice of Erin Holston Singh, N.D., in the Cedar Fairmount Business District’s Heights Medical Building.

As naturopathic doctors, both Mouriño and Holston seek to support individuals in their journey to optimal health through natural means, and stress the important connections between social issues, environmental concerns and human health.

A graduate of the National University of Natural Medicine (formerly the National College of Natural Medicine), Mouriño attributes her pursuit of this field of medicine to her “complex medical history as a child.”

“After the removal of a benign brain tumor,” Mouriño explained, “my mother’s family used ‘folk medicine,’ along with conventional medicine, to assist in my recovery. The herbs and natural ingredients used allowed me to heal faster, and without scars.” Mouriño became interested in good food, and the medical aspects of healing with naturopathic methods.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 4:43 PM, 02.01.2019

Ring names Lynch his partner in Nighttown

Brendan Ring, owner of Nighttown, has made event manager Melissa Lynch a partner in the iconic, long-lived restaurant and music club. In making the announcement, Ring quoted Nighttown’s former owner John Barr, who said, “It took me 27 years to find a partner in Brendan." For his part, Ring said, “It took me only 25 years to find Melissa."

“I am extremely honored to be able to be part of this amazing restaurant and to be working with such a wonderful team and, of course, Brendan Ring,” said Lynch. “I am excited to work with our guests and staff.”

Her goals are to work closely with Ring, to bring Nighttown’s everyday costs down and increase traffic into the restaurant. The partners plan to offer fresh new food items, while keeping the entrees that their regular customers love. Lynch anticipates that small changes in décor will be made, but the familiar Nighttown atmosphere will remain.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 9:35 AM, 01.29.2019

Kaye Lowe retires with a party at Nighttown

Friends of Kaye Lowe gathered at Nighttown on Jan. 16, to honor her upon her retirement after 18 years of service as executive director of the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District (CFSID) and its predecessor, the Cedar Fairmount Business Association.

Members of Cleveland Heights City Council presented her with a plaque at the event.

CFSID has named Heights resident Myra Orenstein its new executive director.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 9:20 AM, 02.01.2019

Cedar Fairmount SID names new director

The Board of Directors of the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District (CFSID) has appointed Cleveland Heights resident Myra Orenstein as its new executive director. Orenstein follows in the footsteps of recently retired Kaye Lowe, who occupied the position for 18 years.

"Kaye did a remarkable job as executive director," said Orenstein. "She helped grow the district from a merchants' association, through its development as a Special Improvement District and, most recently, helped spearhead its streetscape. She has left me with big shoes to fill, to say the least."

As she assumes her new role, Orenstein is particularly excited about working with the CFSID and the city of Cleveland Heights in the development, and ultimate completion, of the Top of the Hill Project.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 9:39 AM, 01.29.2019

Marotta's to close for renovations

Staying true to Brian and Alicia Linihan’s original vision and taste, Marotta's, the Lee Road landmark, will close Feb. 3 for an estimated six-week renovation that promises to retain the warmth and charm that customers have always loved. According to the restaurant’s general manager—and the owners’ niece—Alexandrea Quinn, customers can expect a gentle facelift that includes updated tables, chairs, paint and light fixtures. 

“Brian wanted to add a room for private wine dinners,” said Quinn. This will include an expanded offering of wines and cocktails. While the menu will stay the same, customers will notice more aperitifs, staff guidance with the all-Italian wine list, plus encouragement to dine slowly and enjoy their tables, unhurried, post-meal. 

A family-run business, Marotta’s first opened on Lee Road in 2000. The Heights community surrounded the family with support when co-owner Alicia Linihan died suddenly in 2016.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 9:42 AM, 01.15.2019

A fine-dining gem opens on Noble

The comfortable and relaxing feel of Jewellz Fine Dining, 2204 Noble Road, carries through from the moment one enters this newly opened restaurant to the wonderful, unexpected flavors of the delicious food.

Don't expect fast-food or corner diner-type fare here. This is a menu with grace, intelligence and warmth.

The hard work and skills of chef/owner Dieesha Witherspoon come together in a multifaceted menu that may include rack-of-lamb chops, chicken Alfredo and grilled salmon. Diners can also expect to find a variety of hot wing preparations, an “Amazing Burger,” and chicken spaghetti. What primarily fills the menu, though, are those types of meals that families might eagerly relish at their own home tables following Sunday church.

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 12:38 PM, 01.03.2019

Vote for Best of the Heights in 2019

Beginning Jan. 1, Heights residents can show their appreciation for local businesses by voting for their favorites in the FutureHeights 2019 Best of the Heights Awards contest.

Since 2005, FutureHeights—a nonprofit community development corporation—has conducted the Best of the Heights to recognize the unique attributes of 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 Bang for Your Buck.

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 12:27 PM, 01.02.2019

Child and teen wellness practice opens in Cedar Fairmount

Richard Dempsey, a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) has opened a child and adolescent psychotherapy practice in the Cedar Fairmount Business District.

Fairmount Mental Wellness, located in the Heights Medical Building (2460 Fairmount Blvd., Suite 317), serves the social and emotional needs of children and their families.

Specializing in narrative therapy, Dempsey’s focus is on helping angry kids, frustrated parents and disconnected families, and addressing concerns related to behavior, anxiety and depression.

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 12:41 PM, 01.03.2019

'Helping Hann' furnace giveaway now in its third year

Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc. is accepting nominations for its third annual Helping Hann furnace giveaway, in which a deserving member of the community will receive a free furnace and installation.

Chris Hann, co-owner of the Cleveland Heights-based heating, cooling and plumbing company, is asking for nominations from Cleveland Heights, University Heights and other east side communities.

“It has been our honor to install a new furnace the past two years to deserving homeowners,” Hann said. “Again, we want to share our good fortune by continuing to give back to the community that’s been so good to our family all these years. We are hopeful that members of the community will nominate themselves or someone they know who is without heat or has an old furnace and is in desperate need of a new one.”

This year’s winner will receive a new high-efficiency heating system and installation, with a total value of up to $3,500.

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 10:13 AM, 12.18.2018

Coventry SID welcomes new executive director

It’s a behind-the-scenes job that makes a ton of difference for our community. In her role as Executive Director of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District (SID), Mallory Phillips attends board meetings; oversees neighborhood events, marketing, and street beautification; connects with property owners and merchants; communicates among the board, the city, merchants, and the neighborhood; and increases awareness of and the direction for the Coventry district. 

Phillips was drawn to the opportunity because she has long felt that there is something special about Coventry. Phillips moved to Cleveland after visiting a friend in Westlake several times over the years. Every time she came to town, Coventry was a destination. “Coventry was part of my first impressions of Cleveland and became a quick part of my own experience,” she said.

Coming from Los Angeles, the “east/west thing didn’t matter,” said Phillips, who found herself hopping over from Ohio City to spend the full day in Coventry.

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Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 8:44 AM, 11.13.2018

Cafe Tandoor marks 26 years in CH

Just before New Year’s Eve in 1992, Raj Singh put the finishing touches on what would become a local legend—Cleveland Height’s long-lived Cafe Tandoor. As another new year approaches, the restaurant is wrapping up its 26th year of business.

Seeing a niche opportunity in the 1990s, Singh wanted to open an Indian restaurant as, back then, there was only one Cleveland restaurant serving Indian food.

Singh said he chose to open his restaurant in Cleveland Heights because of its metropolitan and open-minded nature. To craft a rich menu with fine ingredients, Singh relied heavily on Chef Satpal Kashyap, a five-star chef from Mubai, India, and Kashyap's brother in-law, Chef Pishori Lal, who remains Cafe Tandoor’s head chef today.

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Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 10:27 AM, 12.03.2018

Little Italy restaurateur now owns Inn on Coventry

The Inn on Coventry, located at the corner of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard, has been serving up delicious breakfast and lunch fare for 37 years. Popular among many Heights locals, it’s not uncommon to run into someone you know at the inn. The casual, open dining room creates a social atmosphere while also maintaining a cozy, homey feel.

Under continuous family ownership since its 1981 opening, the inn changed hands in January 2018 when the owners decided to retire. Eddie Zalar, a Chardon native and the former owner of Nora, an upscale Italian eatery in Little Italy, purchased the restaurant.

Zalar, who now lives in Lakewood, is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York. He worked in several restaurants before moving back to Ohio in 2015 to open Nora. Creating and maintaining a successful business at Nora required Zalar to work long hours. With his second child on the way, the daytime operating hours of the inn were appealing, and so he made the switch.

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Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 11:18 AM, 11.27.2018

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 Cleveland’s 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