Updated: 1 week 5 days ago
This week, Brauhaus Cleveland LLC broke ground on the new Hofbrauhaus Cleveland in PlayhouseSquare in the most apropos fashion -- with a German oom-pah band, sausages and huge steins of beer. Project developers aim to complete the new restaurant and brewery by the end of 2014. "Everything started in 1589 when the Bavarian kings decided the beer wasn't good enough for them, so they created their own brewery," extolled Maximilian Erlmeier, a former Hofbrauhaus Munich executive and chairman of Cincinnati Restaurant Group. "Now, every year two million people come to the Hofbrauhaus to enjoy food and great beer, and six million come to Oktoberfest. We thought, 'We should export this.'" Hofbrauhaus Cleveland will become the latest franchise in the growing empire, which includes locations in Cincinnati, Chicago and Las Vegas. The Cleveland site will incorporate the Hermit Club and feature 24,000 square feet of space, including nearly 600 indoor seats and more than 1,000 outdoor seats in the beer garden. The famous Hofbrau beer will be brewed on site, and Bavarian dishes will be served. The project is a huge win for PlayhouseSquare, which has in recent years developed a vibrant restaurant scene. The Hofbrauhaus project is one of the first development deals to push PlayhouseSquare's growth north towards Chester Avenue. "We're really excited because this is one more step in PlayhouseSquare's growth," said Art Falco, President of PlayhouseSquare. "This is an incredible destination, but we want to see more young people here. With an outdoor beer garden right by CSU and PlayhouseSquare, we think this is a home run." Source: Art Falco, Maximilian Erlmeier Writer: Lee Chilcote
For the fifth year in a row, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library system has received the highest possible rating in the Library Journal’s 2013 Index of Public Library Service. Library Journal is a trade journal that reports news about the library world and has a nation-wide circulation of 100,000. The five-star rating is given to the top U.S. libraries each year. Heights Libraries has earned five stars in five out of the six years that Library Journal has published the ratings, starting in 2008. Libraries are rated on four criteria: circulation, visits, program attendance and Internet terminal use (public computers). “This shows what we’ve known all along: People in our community are using the library regularly,” says Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “For many customers we’ve become that 'third place,' the place besides work and home where they like to be. We are always busy, and I don’t see that trend reversing anytime soon.” Heights Libraries wasn’t the only other Cuyahoga County area library receiving Star Awards; other area libraries to win are Cleveland Public (4 stars), Cuyahoga County (5 stars), and Lakewood (4 stars). Read the rest of the report here.
It's a fact that $68 of every $100 spent locally returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. We all know that shopping small is good for the local community, but what are the real and tangible benefits behind the movement? A closer look reveals how buying local feeds our region in ways both obvious and subtle.
Michelle Venorsky and Kate Davis have worked at some of the top advertising and communications agencies in town, recently at Marcus Thomas. But the dream of starting their own agency prompted the two, along with three other partners, to launch Hello! agency in September. “We’ve had this idea brewing for a while now,” says Venorsky. “We absolutely love what we do and we’ve been working together for 10 years.” Hello! focuses on developing close connections with their clients, Venorsky says, by engaging relationships and finding out what makes them tick. So it seemed only natural to name the agency Hello!. “When you think about any relationship, you have to introduce yourself,” says Venorsky. “We call ourselves an 'engagement agency' – we build relationships on insight and research.” Davis, with a background in cultural anthropology, handles the research end – figuring out why people do certain things. Venorsky handles the public relations, marketing and social media aspects. Venorsky says it was the right time to take an “intelligent risk” and hang out their own shingle. “There’s never been a better time or an easier time to build a relationship with your customers with so many media platforms,” Venorsky says. “We’re trying to be medianostic and build something that matters.” Hello! is still looking for the ideal office space in Ohio City or Tremont, but in the meantime, Venorsky and Hall are busy signing on clients. They’ve landed four accounts so far. Source: Michelle Venorsky Writer: Karin Connelly
The Happy Dog in the Gordon Square Arts District is famous for tasty hot dogs with crazy toppings, live music and adventurous cultural fare, including members of the Cleveland Orchestra recording an album live in front of the racetrack bar. Now the successful venue is heading east; in the ultimate win-win, the owners are opening their first east side location inside the now-shuttered Euclid Tavern. "We've been approached many times, and there are a lot of things we could have done," says Sean Watterson, co-owner of the Happy Dog. "To be a part of bringing the Euclid Tavern back to life was the thing that made us go, 'OK, maybe we could do another one of these, and this is the place to do it.'" The Happy Dog signed a lease on the space this week with University Circle Inc., which bought the building last year from the previous owners. The Euclid Tavern operated continuously as a bar from 1909 until 2001, making it the second longest-running bar site in Cleveland, according to UCI Director Chris Ronayne. New owners re-opened it in 2008 and stuck with it until 2013. UCI began renovating the space and looking for a new operator earlier this year. "We were searching for the right tenant to live up to the iconic reputation of the Euclid Tavern as a music venue," says Ronayne. "We were in courtship with the guys from the Happy Dog for a while -- they know food, music and programming." The Euclid Tavern has hosted national acts Chrissie Hynde, Pavement and Green Day, and also served as home base for legendary local acts like Mr. Stress. The tavern was also featured in the 1987 film Light of Day starring Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett. Although plans are still being shaped, Watterson says the new venue will operate as the Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern. A similar menu will be available, but some hot dog toppings will only be available at the east side location, and vice versa. The owners also plan more cultural programming through partnerships with area institutions such as the Cleveland Institute of Music and Institute of Art. The same partnership that owns the west side Happy Dog, including Watterson, Sean Kilbane and chef Eric Williams, will open the Euclid Tavern location. Source: Sean Watterson, Chris Ronayne Writer: Lee Chilcote
After working as an admissions counselor and running college-prep consulting firm Community Strategies Consulting, Nichelle McCall witnessed first-hand the confusion, stress and disorganization hopeful students go through when applying for colleges. So McCall decided to make the process a little less stressful. She developed BOLD Guidance, a mobile app for students, parents and college counselors that streamlines the application process. “It’s a step-by-step guide with checklists, reminders and task lists,” explains McCall. “We help kids get into college by helping them through the application process on their cell phones.” The information and lists are specific to the individual schools students are applying for. The app is free for students, while counselors and parents pay to view and track progress. McCall started BOLD Guidance a year ago and launched across 12 schools in September. She entered the summer 2013 FlashStarts accelerator, which gave the company exactly the boost it needed. “The accelerator program was very helpful for us,” McCall says. “They gave us office space, helped us with branding and marketing and developing software. They gave us funding and are continuing to help us throughout the next year.” The BOLD Guidance app has been well-received. McCall came in third place and took home $5,000 at the COSE Pitch Competition in October. Also in October, McCall won first place for Best Mobile App in DigitalUndivided Focus 100 Tech Conference in New York. Additionally, BOLD Guidance is a finalist in the Mobile Future's Mobileys, a competition for entrepreneurs who make a difference through mobile innovation. McCall is hoping to win the People’s Choice award. In 2014, McCall plans to add a social responsibility component to her business. “We plan to allow parents to make individual purchases of BOLD Guidance with the option to pay an additional 50 percent, which BOLD Guidance will match for a first-generation college student to also receive the software,” she says. BOLD Guidance continues to operate out of the FlashStarts space in PlayhouseSquare. McCall has one employee, a developer, one contract developer and is currently looking for a sales rep. Source: Nichelle McCall Writer: Karin Connelly
Fresh Water is taking a break next week to give our staff time off to celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. We are grateful for all of our devoted readers and wish you all a wonderful holiday. We'll be back with a new issue December 5.
Since the Great Recession, more and more folks have been living the "gigging life," working multiple jobs or hopping from one project to the next in hopes of cobbling together a living budget. While that might seem arduous, it also allows those living the lifestyle to follow their true passion.
In a Columbus Dispatch business piece titled “Cleveland grilled-cheese sandwich chain arrives in Short North,” writer Denise Trowbridge highlights Matt Fish’s Melt Bar & Grilled and his decision to test the waters by opening a location in Columbus. “I am nervous, but we had to take the plunge. That’s just part of growing,” Fish was quoted in the piece. “We want to become a regional restaurant group and open a couple more in Columbus, but we have to start with one and make that one the best we can.” Trowbridge goes on to detail many of the aspects we Clevelanders already know and love about Melt, including its signature sandwiches, fabulous beer selection, infamous Melt Challenge, and the 25 percent discount for life for those who add a melt tattoo. Check out the full story here.
Eric Klein, chair of the Glickman Urology and Kidney Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, along with a team of researchers at the Clinic and Genomic Health, have developed a genomic test that determines the aggressiveness of prostate cancer and therefore helps doctors and patients decide the proper course of treatment. “It’s a biopsy-based test that looks at how certain genes are turned on or off,” explains Klein. “Before it was developed we made an educated guess on how aggressive a man’s tumor was based on factors like age and health.” Often there are multiple small tumors in prostate cancer. The Oncoptype DX Prostate Cancer test, developed for market by California-based Genomic Health, looks at the activity of certain genes within the tumor. Based on the results, treatment can range from surveillance to more aggressive treatment. “We developed it in a way to tell what else is going on in the prostate,” says Klein. “About 20 to 25 percent of men who have this test are re-assigned to a different category of progression.” Klein is pleased with what the test means for the treatment of prostate cancer. “First, it identifies those who have more aggressive cancer,” he says. “Second, it reassures those who choose surveillance.” Klein has spent the past eight years developing the prostate genomic test. The University of California San Francisco spent three years validating the method, and it was released in May. The test is one of many advancements in genome-guided solid tumor analysis recognized by Cleveland Clinic Innovations as the number-two innovation in health care this year. Genomic Health has a similar test for treatment of breast cancer. “This is the first foray into precision treatment for prostate cancer,” Klein says. “With this test a management decision can be made based on the characteristics of the tumor. It’s individual decision making based on that person’s disease. That’s’ where we want to be.” Source: Eric Klein Writer: Karin Connelly
A new grant program launched by Neighborhood Progress Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides funding and technical assistance to community development corporations in Cleveland, recently awarded $200,000 to five projects. The recipients include a new business incubation program in North Collinwood, youth programming in Ohio City and surrounding neighborhoods, an effort in Central to teach fourth graders about healthy, local food, arts-based development in St. Clair Superior, and a community engagement effort in Tremont. "The program came to be when we, as an organization, made a decision to develop a program that all CDCs had access to," says Colleen Gilson, Vice President of CDC Services for NPI, of the Neighborhood Solutions grant program. "The idea was, let's not be prescriptive. Let's let CDCs tell us what their solution to a neighborhood problem is or a cool project in their service area." The awards break down as follows: NPI awarded $45,000 to ActiVacant, a program to recruit entrepreneurs to vacant retail spaces on E. 185th; $45,000 to Near West Recreation to expand its network of youth programming, including baseball, soccer, softball, basketball and bowling; $45,000 to St. Clair Superior for its Urban Upcycle project; $45,000 to Burton Bell Carr for its Urban Farm Diet Program; and $20,000 to Tremont West for its efforts to engage residents in creating a community-based development plan around MetroHealth. Gilson says the projects reflect "deep collaboration" and non-traditional approaches towards community development. For instance, Near West Recreation is an effort to engage and retain families in six neighborhoods on the near west side -- Ohio City, Tremont, Stockyards, Clark-Fulton and Detroit Shoreway -- and build "intergenerational mixed-income neighborhoods." ActiVacant, spearheaded by Northeast Shores, is a "new take on the American dream" and a "business incubation project on steroids" that will entice young retailers to fill empty spaces on E. 185th by offering them free or reduced rent for a period of time, access to mentors and other support, and incentives for meeting benchmarks. "The process was pretty amazing," says Gilson, describing a Shark Tank-esque format in which finalists presented in front of a panel of community development leaders, who then ranked and voted on winners. "We invited other CDCs to come watch and learn from their peers, and it was a really good opportunity to learn." Source: Colleen Gilson Writer: Lee Chilcote
What are the kids into these days? Learning to sew, if you can believe it. The Lorain branch of the Cleveland Public Library recently purchased sewing machines and began offering classes, and apparently they're a hit with young adults, who are interested in crafting, learning to make and repair their own clothes, and upcycling older materials into something new. "They absolutely loved it," says branch manager Olivia Hoge of the classes that debuted this fall. "It's something old that's coming back. The idea of 'making' is becoming very prevalent in libraries." The Lorain branch is offering additional classes in December, and Hoge says that youth involved in the effort might also hold a fashion show as part of Cleveland Fashion Week. Sewing classes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how CPL is tapping into the maker movement, however. In January, a new high-tech Maker Space will open downtown, complementing the already-diverse offerings available there. Housed in TechCentral, a technology and learning center in the lower level of the Stokes Wing, the MakerLab will feature the latest cutting-edge tech, including graphic design software, audiovisual recording equipment, vinyl cutter, laser cutter, 3D scanner, high-definition video camera and smartboard. "It's pretty cool," says C.J. Lynce, manager of TechCentral. "We've invested in equipment, tools and software that are high-level and professional." "TechCentral and the MakerLab fit into our strategic priority of 'Forming Communities of Learning,'" adds Cathy Poilpre, Assistant Marketing Director with CPL. "Collectively, all the services offered in the MakerLab make CPL the center of learning for our whole community. Most people have a place they live, a place they work, and this is like a third place -- to play, engage and learn." The TechCentral MakerLab is slated to open January 11th in the main library. Source: Olivia Hoge, C.J. Lynce Writer: Lee Chilcote
Collective Upcycle, the creative reuse boutique that's been popping up around town for the past few years, is opening a bricks-and-mortar store in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood. The shop, located at 6202 St. Clair Avenue -- aka the "coppertop building" -- will hold a grand opening party this Friday, November 22 from 5-8 p.m. Friday's big bash will feature Slovenian beer and a Slovenian band in honor of the St. Clair Superior neighborhood's rich heritage as a hub for the ethnic community. The store will feature the work of 35-plus Cleveland upcycle artists and designers and is being spearheaded by Lauren Krueger as part of the Upcycle St. Clair effort. "The shop is a celebration of innovation that's locally and regionally sourced," says Nicole McGee of Plenty Underfoot, who founded Collective Upcycle in 2011 and is a partner in Upcycle St. Clair, a larger effort to revitalize the entire retail district. Some of the upcycled items offered at Collective Upcycle include roof slates turned into picture frames, plastic soda bottles made into sculptural flower bouquets, and vinyl LPs melted down into jewelry and serving bowls. Collective Upcycle will be open Thursdays through Sundays during the holiday season. Then the store will close for a few weeks and reopen in January. Although the copper top building will eventually be taken over by St. Martin DePorres School, the shop will reopen in another location on St. Clair in the spring. McGee says the store is proof positive that the strategy behind Upcycle St. Clair is working. "One of the goals was to bring in new businesses," she says. "We're celebrating what's already existing while also creating new opportunity." Source: Nicole McGee Writer: Lee Chilcote
Michael Bauer, the influential restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, recently penned a feature titled "Cleveland is a city that rocks to food." "Last week I spent a few days in Cleveland, looking at a half-dozen high-profile restaurants. I wish I could have done more," is how Bauer kicks off the lengthy travel piece. During his visit, the food editor and restaurant critic hit Sokolowski's, Dante, Greenhouse Tavern and the Velvet Tango Room, where "I had the best whiskey sour I can remember." Of course, he also visited the West Side Market: "I also fell in love with the West Side Market, a city-owned facility that has been in business for more than 100 years." He concludes the piece with this nugget: "Cleveland has the energy of a food town on the rise. And, for anyone who loves music and rock and roll -- after all, it’s the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- it’s a city worth checking out." Read it all right here.
Shaker Heights perhaps is better known for its handsome residential districts than its commercial areas. However, a new pop-up event aims to highlight local businesses in the Van Aken District, invite a few new ones to participate, and offer a new kind of winter market where people can shop close to home. Pop Up Shaker will bring a range of local food and craft purveyors into Juma Gallery and Lucy's Sweet Surrender for a two-week run beginning Saturday, November 30th and going through Sunday, December 15th. Upcycle St. Clair's innovative Shop the Window event will brighten the windows of the vacant storefront between them. "The goal is to encourage residents and others to look at Shaker as a great place to do business," says Katharyne Starinsky, an Economic Development Specialist with the City of Shaker Heights. "Construction on the Van Aken streetscape is starting next year. We want people to think about how great the future of the area will be." Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen will turn Juma Cafe into a marketplace for tantalizing foods; Cleveland Craft Connection will host a handmade market and teach crafting classes at Lucy's; and Shop the Window will allow visitors to purchase upcycled crafts simply by scanning the QR code with their smartphones. "You can immediately purchase the gifts right then and there, and then they'll be available for pickup at Upcycle St. Clair, or they can be shipped," says Starinsky. So far, everyone loves the idea, which has never before been tried in the City of Shaker Heights. "People are excited to be able to shop in their own community." Source: Katharyne Starinsky Writer: Lee Chilcote
Since 1998, the Cuyahoga County North Coast Opportunities (NCO) Technology Fund has been helping high growth technology companies thrive and create jobs, and the deadline for the latest round of funding is November 18. NCO provides deferred loans ranging from $25,000 to $125,000 at an interest rate of five percent. Repayment is deferred for five years or until the company receives $1.5 million in follow-on funding. NCO offers six rounds of funding per year, awarding money to one company each round. “The program was created to accelerate tech-based entrepreneurs and create new jobs,” says Greg Zucca, senior development finance analyst for the Cuyahoga County Department of Development. Since it started, the fund has invested $2.6 million in 26 companies. Those companies have gone on to raise $19 million in follow-on funding, created 77 jobs and added $4.6 million in annual payroll. While Cuyahoga County provides the loans, JumpStart provides the assistance to help the companies grow and thrive. “JumpStart assists through programs like its Entrepreneur in Residence and makes recommendations for places the companies can go to get follow-on funding,” says Zucca. The hope is to develop early stage companies that have potential to boost the regional economy. “It’s good for Northeast Ohio because there are a lot of early stage companies here,” says Zucca. “We’re really trying to feed the system and create a continuum for these companies as they are maturing.” Source: Greg Zucca Writer: Karin Connelly
In an Atlantic Cities feature titled "The Passion of Young Cleveland," New York-based writer Nona Willis Aronowitz covers both the start-up friendly nature of Cleveland as well as its political importance. "Cleveland is one of those Rust Belt cities that's too often held up as a symbol of the fall of American industry, but a critical mass of diehard young Clevelanders are either staying or coming back to turn the place around. While I was there, I heard two common reasons why Cleveland natives were staying loyal: It's an ideal place to start a business or a new project, given the low overhead and unusually strong, cohesive community support. But it's also in one of the most politically influential places in the country, in a bellwether, "real America" state that offers young people an opportunity to move the national needle." In the feature, the writer chats with Ohio City developer Graham Veysey and his girlfriend, Marika Shiori-Clark, who says that it's “much easier to be an entrepreneur here. There’s a much lower threshold in terms of risk and price." Read the rest right here.
Reporting for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, food writer Ian Froeb shares details of his recent visit to Cleveland, where he enjoyed stops at Greenhouse Tavern, West Side Market, Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “Another Cleveland must is the West Side Market. This gorgeous (inside and out) building houses more than 100 vendors including more butcher shops than you ever thought could fit under a single roof. “ Read the full story here.
Cleveland is home to a vibrant collection of women-owned businesses, many of which are in fields traditionally dominated by men. From manufacturing to moving, these heavy lifting ladies credit their success to hard work and a soft touch.
There's so much pop culture ephemera floating through the average American brain, it's impossible to keep track of it all. No worries: Three Cleveland-based authors have recently published pop culture books on Superman, breakfast cereal and film, which take dead aim at our nostalgia centers.