A few weeks ago, we hosted our annual Be A Tourist In Your Own Town outing for our clients that all work incredibly hard to find and land the best possible talent for their organizations. They rarely have the luxury of spending a day exploring their own city. And, because they are expected to be experts on this topic, we thought EA could help. Knowing about the newest places in NE Ohio is only half the battle when your job is to woo top candidates from all around the world. Actually experiencing them, boots on the ground as we say, is another. So, once a year we we fill a trolley with our clients and spend a day exploring our own home. Many of the places we visit are slightly off the beaten path…locations that exude Cleveland authentic charm and grit. Now our clients will be prepared to answer questions from job candidates and new hires alike with confidence.
The start of our day showcased the connections of our own staff. How lucky is EA to have recently added Jeff Moreau, owner of Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop to our team as a Project Manager? He not only is a Project Manager for EA but also owner of a candy/shake store…our own Willy Wonka! The first stop with our clients was to enjoy the boxed lunches we ordered from Lunch Owl (we support local!) at Jeff’s charming shop in the Gordon Square neighborhood near W. 65th and Detroit. Jeff treated every guest to chocolate covered caramels as we departed. (Can you work with us forever, Jeff?)
Adam Rosen then guided our trolley through his Detroit Shoreway neighborhood pointing out restaurants, nightlife hot spots and entertainment options. He shared updates on all the developments happening in the neighbohood that have virtually transformed this neighborhood with new housing and storefronts. Because it has tunnels that link it directly to Edgewater Beach, it’s a major draw for transferees who want to be close to a body of water.
Next stop, League Park, the Cleveland Indians first stadium at E. 66th and Lexington. Margaret Reardon, the Administrator of the Baseball Heritage Museum located onsite shared Tribe history and artifacts. If you are a baseball fan and you haven’t been to this historic spot in the Hough neighborhood, you are missing a bucket list item! This is where Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run, Cy Young pitched the first game for the Indians in 1891 and where the Indians won the 1920 World Series. The ballpark moved to Downtown Cleveland in the 1940’s.
League Park’s field and grounds are owned by the City of Cleveland. Just like any other city-owned park, it can be rented by anyone for a fee ($600 as of this writing). It’s a great spot for a family reunion or better yet a birthday party. To have your kids run the bases on the same dirt where Joe DiMaggio’s 56th game hitting streak came to an end in 1941 would be quite an experience. The Baseball Heritage Museum has original bleacher seats, game balls and wonderful memorabilia to explore. Most of our guests said, “I’m going to bring my husband back to this place; it’s where legends played.”
Next stop, Mueller Lofts in AsiaTown. An amazing rehab of the former Mueller Electric Company’s building has turned this 1920’s commercial building into contemporary residential loft living. For history buffs, Mueller invented the famous aligator clip and is still a manufacturing powerhouse with headquarters in Akron. And if you wonder whether there is demand for residential living in AsiaTown, think no more. All 51 units were immediately leased, and there is a waiting list for these cool loft apartments with huge windows, exposed brick and lots of building amenities including a light-filled interior garden (acts as a backyard for the residents), a rooftop deck with grills and picnic tables, a dog washing station, and storage for bikes. This place is so popular that Joe Dill from Sustainble Community Associates (the developer) resorts to showing his own apartment off to those interested in leasing as even the model suite now has a tenant. One of the reasons for the Mueller Lofts’ high demand is that SCA Developers have a national reputation for doing rehabs better than most with a keen eye on what renters want, a careful look back at a building’s history and a genuine focus on connecting with the local neighbors without taking over.
Our client Abbe from Eaton Corp even spotted one of her company’s products on the roof of the Mueller Building and proudly pointed it out to all of us. One local company supporting another – it’s the Cleveland way!
From AsiaTown we headed east to University Circle where Irwin Lowenstein, CWRU’s Advising Architect, led us on a walking tour of the newly opened Nord Family Greenway. Irwin has been instrumental in the creation of the campus master plan. This new pathway in the heart of University Circle connects CWRU’s Tinkham Veale Center to the south side of the Cleveland Museum of Art and then crosses MLK to end in front of the Maltz Peforming Arts Center. A college campus and museum district should be all about walkability, and the Greenway contributes greatly to the connectivity of University Circle.
For our next stop, Jason Cohen met us at the Maltz Performing Arts Center. The building was built in 1924 for Temple-Tifereth Israel’s congregation. Jason provided a tour that showecased how this magnificent space is now used for music, lectures, dance, theater, and community events.
The last stop of the day, prior to happy hour, was at the Hamilton Complex on E. 53rd and Hamilton, which is home to RBX (AKA Rebuilders Exchange). RBX opened a few years ago as a consignment space for architectural and construction salvage but soon after opened to the general public when demand for the cool contents in this 50,000 SF warehouse intrigued HGTV enthusiasts all over Northeast Ohio. Walking through this space is like going on a scavenger hunt for things you didn’t even know you wanted. RBX owner, Jessica Davis, told us about the calls she gets every week from customers seeking unusual pieces and developers tearing down old buildings but wanting to salvage as many interesting pieces as they can from the building to sale. Every city has big box stores, malls and chains, we like to show off what we do differently, and most of our clients loved seeing one of a kind pieces that had been upcycled, salvaged or rehabbed to look useful/beautiful again.
Jessica demonstrated the powerful camaraderie of the makers/entrepreneurs who have spaces in this building. Jessica introduced us to Brian Shaffran, owner of Skidmark Garage, a co-working space for those who need a spot to work on their motorcycle/dirt bike but don’t have all the tools, experience or garage space necessary.
At Skidmark, individual spots to keep your bike and tools line both walls. Every member gets to add their favorite music to the iPad. The music wafting through the overhead speakers give this space a cool vibe and seems to encourage neighborliness as people borrow tools, ask for advice and mix and mingle with others who love motorcycles. And, it doesn’t hurt that there is also a 30′ wood bar salvaged from a now gone restaurant that has been brought to life in a man/woman cave area with couches, recliners and a stage/mic ready for local musicians and comedians. BYOB and your dog and come listen on open mic night (first & third Sunday of every month).
Next, we met Peter Debelak, a former lawyer turned woodworker, who provides the co-working space Soulcraft for those who want to build beautiful things out of wood with their own hands. If you don’t have room to store the wood and sharp whirring blades at your home, you can come here and rent a space and learn from a community of other wood workers. He also offers team building workshops to companies looking for something different (everyone goes home with a beautiful cutting board or a breakfast/butler tray).
Our day ended at 5:00 pm with happy hour at Noble Beast Brewing Company on E. 17th and Lakeside. It’s located in a cool rehabbed space and offers amazing craft beers, service and food (try the Pig Popcorn with rib rub, bacon bits and beer vinegar aioli!).
Want to join us for the hidden treasures of Cleveland trolley experience next fall? All you have to do to reserve a seat is engage EA’s services for a job candidate or transferee once in the next year.