Searching for a location for a new retail business is no different then searching for the perfect apartment or house. Every spot will always be compared to the first location you looked at, regardless of anything else. As you continue to search, positives and negatives are noticed at each and every location. You start to narrow down what you like and don’t. A clearer picture forms in your mind and slowly, you cross areas and possibilities off the list. Eventually, you land on the location that you fall in love with. That you will call home for the foreseeable future. That will prosper. That you will make your own.
I had previously searched Cleveland neighborhoods. This past week, I was to be searching actual locations. Actual buildings. An actual home for A Cheese Shop To Be Named Later*. For this particular search, I focused on University Circle/Uptown Cleveland and Hingetown, a resurgent neighborhood and an up coming neighborhood. Both are great options, yes, but I don’t want to settle for great. I want to find perfect.
I may be putting the cart before the horse, yes. I recognize that. However, as I am searching for a location, I am doing so much other cheese shop related research, to be blogged about in the future. Right now, though, the location hunt is the most exciting.
University Circle is an area I have visited more times than I can count. University Circle is the home of The Cleveland Museum of Art, one of the finest art institutions in the world and a place I am lucky to say is only ~20 minutes away. If you don’t know, Euclid is the main street in University Circle and Uptown is the part of the area truly experiencing a resurgence. Although there are a lot of new buildings, they appear to lack the character and history I am searching for. At least I thought.
I met with a representative of two of the buildings in Uptown and learned that tucked away on a side street, in an older building, is an available location. I walked through this unique spot, taking it all in, learning what work is needed to be done and could be done. Certain walls could be torn down, doors could be added and up to code ventilation and plumbing needs to be updated. ADA guidelines must also be taken into account as the space is renovated/built-out. The main space is just over 1,000 square feet with a rectangular shape, providing a unique layout for a shop. Additionally, there are two secondary areas measuring approximately 500 square feet, that could easily become one simply by tearing a wall down. A hallway divides the main and secondary spaces, which must be rented together. This space definitely has promise and is in a great location, right across from a newly opened bowling alley. However, I have to remember, this was the first space I looked at.
Onto Option #2.
As I previously mentioned, when I originally went on a neighborhood search, I missed Hingetown. I am sorry I did. After visiting University Circle, I, with the Sous Chef, headed to the near west side of Cleveland. Hingetown is a new up and coming neighborhood in Ohio City. We drove around, liking everything we saw. Then, we parked and I walked around, looking at the juice bar, tea shop, refurbished fire station, intimate concert hall, contemporary art space and so much more. (Sous Chef recently broke her foot so she, unfortunately, had to sit in the car for most of the walking.) This seemed like the perfect location for A Cheese Shop To Be Named Later, especially with a great mix of new and classic housing scattered throughout. Only problem was I didn’t see any available spaces. Until I stumbled on the old Van Roy Coffee Company building.
Not only does this space have character and apparently a great back story, it is available for rent. The main issue, though, is the ground floor is only available to rent as one piece that measures 3,000+ square foot. For an up and coming cheese shop who currently has no income, that is a lot of space and in turn, a lot of money. I am still investigating the space since it is so awesome and in such a great neighborhood, but I don’t want to get up my hopes too much, too soon.
With having only seen these two possibilities so far, there is much more research to be done. However, what I have seen is most definitely promising and I can’t wait to continue looking and searching. I feel as though Hingetown is the leading neighborhood up to this point, but, that could most definitely change as I continue the hunt. We will see…and you will know.