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Issue Date: October 2013

Best of Cleveland 2013: Shopping & Services

Home-brew Supplier

In a city known for its ample craft beer scene, there's never a shortage of places to grab a cold one. But if you're the do-it-yourself type, head to the Cleveland Brew Shop to get everything you need to be your own brewmaster. The 11-month-old spot in Tremont is decorated with old photographs of Cleveland breweries on the walls and is the type of place where everybody (or at least every employee) knows your name. "We have built a sense of community at our shop," says founder and owner Paul Benner. "When people come in, we greet them. We spend time with them." In addition to providing brewing and bottling equipment and supplies, Benner carries barley and other grains such as wheat, oats, rye and corn, 35 varieties of hops (from the subtle German Noble to the pungent Simcoe) and approximately 20 herbs and spices. Monthly home-brewing classes, which regularly sell out, show beginners how to use them all. 2681 W. 14th St., Cleveland, 216-574-2271,


Call us Corey Hart because we'd totally wear these sunglasses at night. While growing up, Rogue Eyewear designer Kumar Arora spent time at the office with his dad, a chemist who worked with lens coatings, and with his mom, an artist. "I look at [Rogue] almost as a merging of my mom and my dad [and] the skills they both gave me growing up," says Arora. For us, the shades reflect the latent hipness of Cleveland. And Arora kept his hometown in mind when deciding to craft fashionable, quality sunglasses that we can actually afford and be proud to put on. While designer brands cost around $300, Rogue's 2013 collection starts with the durable Wayfarer ($35) in red, burgundy or gray, and tops out with the limited-run Bamboo ($100). Arora is launching the new Home Team Collection this month geared toward Browns and Indians fans — brown tortoise shell with orange lenses and blue tortoise shell with red lenses. "I started this because I haven't seen a major sunglass line in Cleveland," Arora says. "I wanted this to be a celebration of the city."

Flea Market

Shopping local just got a lot easier. The Cleveland Flea premiered this year in the St. Clair neighborhood as a marketplace filled with local vendors' wares and edible treats, from soap artisans to food trucks. Handmade leather goods by Wright & Rede, fried plantain sandwiches from La Banana Frita, and flea market furniture curated by Yellow Door Goods are just a few things you might find each visit. "It's a treasure hunt," says founder Stephanie Sheldon, as she describes the shopping experience, which has grown from hosting about 20 vendors to more than 100. "It's an incubator for small businesses, and it can also help to revitalize a neighborhood." The final Cleveland Flea of the year — a holiday market — will be Nov. 23 and 24 at the Slovenian National Home. "Someone could show up at this market and you could outfit your whole holiday there," Sheldon says. "You can even wrap your gifts there."

Luxury Robes

Sophie Burkart searched for more than 15 years to find the perfect robe — the kind of silky thing that makes you feel instantly glamorous the second you slip it on. But she never could. "Most robes are big, fluffy towel-things," she laments. "Or they are very itsy-bitsy lacey things, only designed for one thing." So after much frustration, the Chagrin Falls resident launched her own line of hand-stitched, silk creations: SoffiaB. From $825 and up, the floral, coral and paisley patterned dressing gowns come with luxury extras such as laser-cut labels and cotton- or flannel-lined pockets. They're expensive, yes. But Burkart says they're well worth it. "Women put so much into everyone else around them, and for me, yes, it's absolutely worth the cost," she says. "It's very important to go to bed and feel good." 216-225-5798,

Industrial Furniture

Where one man might see trash — or at least a pile of old lumber — Joe Kastelic Jr. sees treasure. The owner and designer behind Play-Haus Design, based in Ohio City, uses local wood rescued from abandoned barns and derelict homes in his one-of-a-kind, industrial-inspired furniture. "There aren't a lot of people who use genuine stuff," Kastelic says. "Anyone can go to a hardware store and get lumber. These are all my designs, and all genuine, reclaimed wood." From oak- or poplar-lined coffee tables priced to sell at $500 to more expensive, custom pieces such as a 10-foot butcher-block maple dining table inset with a stainless steel trough, there's a little something for everyone at the 2-year-old Play-Haus. "It's a challenge," Kastelic says. "I like to come up with new ideas. I don't like to make the same thing more than once, because that gets boring." 3904 Lorain Ave., Cleveland,

Sandblasted Glassware

We prefer to have our beer glass filled with a local brew, and it gets even better when that pilsner blares "CLE" and our city's skyline across it. Blastmaster's Vinny and Cindy Tirpak have turned that popular item ($13) into the trademark of their sandblasting glassware business. Working out of their Brunswick home, Cindy adheres stencils to the Libbey and Anchor Hocking glassware, while Vinny uses an air compressor to blast a combination of sand and recycled glass beads onto the surface, embedding the design into the glass. Although the duo creates custom glasses for weddings and corporate events, Cleveland themes are still the most requested. "I've never seen a city that is just so proud," says Cindy, a Connecticut native. She recalls a recent couple who ordered skyline glasses for their wedding, but were indifferent when it came to putting their names on the glassware. "It's more important to them to identify with Cleveland than their own wedding day," Cindy

Bath Bombs

Don't be fooled when browsing The Gourmet Soap Market in Willoughby. The brightly colored balls may look like giant jawbreakers, but they are actually handmade bath bombs ($2.50 each). "It looks like a candy shop, but it's all bath and body care," says owner Barbie Gennarelli. Made from baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch and shea butter, the 2.5-ounce bombs come in a variety of soothing and fruity scents, including jungle love, Malibu baby and girly girl (a combination of cotton candy, lemon drops and caramel). The best-selling scent, though, is beach. So no matter what time of year, you can escape to a tropical getaway in the confines of your own bathtub. "I have three children," says Gennarelli, who uses the bombs about every other day. "They want to use them nightly, but we must reserve them somewhat." 37917 Vine St., Willoughby, 216-854-7202,

Paper Store

Hollo's PaperCraft is like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory for paper, where all things both imaginable and unimaginable can be found. Open for 65 years, the Brunswick spot offers cardstock in almost any color you can dream of and draws crowds ranging from jewelry makers, interior designers, students and couples planning weddings. If you're looking for something unusual, check out the selection of handmade papers. More than 300 styles from places around the world, such as the Philippines, Japan and Nepal, line the wall. We love the thin sheer sheets swirled with neon yellow and green or the marbled ones with various shades of gray, purple and gold. "I hear next to New York City we're about the biggest selection anyone has seen," says Hollo's president Irene Koenig. Others must have also heard the same thing, because the wide selection and availability of otherwise hard-to-find products brings in customers from all over. "On any given day there's an out-of-state plate in our driveway," she says. "From New York to Canada to Florida, they come from everywhere." 1878 Pearl Road, Brunswick, 330-225-0911,

City Jewelry

The Cleveland skyline may not be much to look at when compared to the volume of skyscrapers in New York City. But we love it anyway — and we especially adore it on CLE Clothing Co.'s stainless steel skyline necklace ($30). Artist Jillian Doskocil used a photo, tracing the outline of our town's three tallest buildings, to create the shape of the piece. "Our three little teeth," she jokes, as she describes the design, which highlight's Cleveland's Terminal Tower, 200 Public Square and Key Tower. While the necklace is currently only available in silver, Doskocil is experimenting with gold and other metals. She hopes to offer other variations of the necklace in the future. "Our skyline is small, but that's what makes it amazing," she says. "Whenever anyone sees it, they know it's Cleveland." 342 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-736-8879,

Vintage Bike Shop

They may call it a gallery, but don't expect sparse white walls with scant framed art pieces at Simpler Times Vintage Bicycle Gallery. These works have more kick: a '56 curvy red Schwinn Hornet and a 1948 Cleveland-made Roadmaster with a large silver spotlight. "To me, bikes are a lot like sculpture," says co-owner Jef Janis. Along with his uncle, Kelvin Tate, Janis fills the 8,000-square-foot shop with nearly 600 vintage bicycles ($75 to $2,000) that they refurbish and salvage from Craigslist, estate sales and collectors. Come here to find well-crafted bikes from our region's past such as Ohio-manufactured Shelbys and other rides that bring baby boomers back to their childhood. A customer, who started crying while buying two '70s Schwinn Apple Krates, told Tate, "That's the bike I wanted when I was a kid. We couldn't afford it, but I can afford it now." 3212 W. 25th St., Cleveland, 216-925-2008

Superman-inspired T-shirts

You could consider George Vlosich III's uncanny manipulation of Etch A Sketches a superpower. So it's no surprise he expertly expresses Cleveland's dual identity of jock and geek with merely a shield and the letter C on his Superman-inspired T-shirts ($25). Designed with brother Greg and father George Jr., Vlosich sells the shirts (which come in Browns, Cavs and Indians team colors) on his website and at his new GV Art & Design storefront in Lakewood. "We knew Superman originated in Cleveland, but when we first launched the shirt, people didn't get it," says the 34-year-old artist. "It's cool to see how the city has embraced the fact Superman originated here." Now that the design is available in hoodies ($45) and onesies ($20), the whole family can sport our civic jock and geek pride any time of year. 17413 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-273-7188,

Record Store

Don't be alarmed if you find us sitting on the floor, sifting through a pile of dusty vinyls at Mentor's Record Den, which first opened in 1973 and attracts folks from as far away as Pittsburgh. The 4,000-square-foot space is home to approximately 35,000 new and used CDs as well as 6,000 new and used vinyl records, including a prized We Are The World 12-inch that we scored, featuring Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie among many others. Entire artist catalogs, box sets and limited-edition releases covering genres from classical to punk to rap stuff the store. "There isn't much you could name that we don't carry," declares Greg Beaumont, who's managed the store since it opened and bought it from the original owner 13 years ago. Flip through the stacks, and you just might come across your own treasure, such as the Beatles' 1966 LP Yesterday and Today in its original "butcher" cover, recalled because of the furor over a photo of the Fab Four in bloodstained butcher smocks, surrounded by slabs of raw meat and severed doll heads. The shop also hosts in-store appearances by the likes of heavy metal band Killswitch Engage and Steven Wilson, frontman of progressive rock quartet Porcupine Tree. 7661 Mentor Ave., Mentor, 440-946-9909

Reclaimed Jewelry

Ticktock, ticktock — it's time to wear a clock. Excuse our rhyme, but Clockwork Hearts' jewelry has us waxing poetic. Its pieces, a mishmash of necklaces, earrings and rings constructed of old clock innards and new resin, brass, bronze and copper parts, are priced from $10 to $120. Dials, gears, knobs, you name it — the inside pieces of vintage tickers are on display behind a miniature glass window in designer Skye George's jewelry. "The big thing for me was the idea of taking something old and turning it into something new and beautiful," says George, who sells her collection at local markets such as the Cleveland Flea and on Etsy. "All the clocks I use were someone else's personal belongings at some point. I like that future generations can use them for new purposes." 216-432-8224,

Northeast Ohio Posters

You can relive your glory days of college without the hangover or embarrassing Facebook pictures. Farin Blackburn's Seaworthi posters — a collision of funky calligraphy and geography — capture all the things and places we love about local college towns, such as Kent and Athens, within the outlines of the state of Ohio ($15 for unframed, $50 framed). "I love typography," Blackburn says, "especially the uniqueness of handwritten type." A Kent State graduate herself, the Kent poster is crammed with references to local favorites such as black squirrels and Ray's Place. For those who missed out on the campus experience or would rather not dredge up those memories, pick up her "Young Cleveland" poster, featuring spots such as the Flats and Happy Dog. "It includes new businesses and old, places that are creating a city for young artists and young professionals," she says.

Mobile Shop

Elton Rains spotted a 1963 Airstream Overlander in a local junkyard and saw more than an ancient piece of aluminum — he saw potential. "He gutted it, put AC in it," says girlfriend Shannon Vance, and the trailer became the moveable home for the couple's pop-up shop, Stash Style. The retro space holds more than 500 pieces, including vintage boots and bags, jewelry and military garb — culled from thrift stores, flea markets and even rescued from garbage piles — and Vance's line of hand-dyed linen garments, called Gypsy Couture. The couple also sets up tents outside the trailer to house overflowing outfits and decorative pieces, such as crates or bowls made from vintage records. "It's always a work in progress," Vance says. "We don't rest when we get home. We get ready for the next show." While the shop will be traveling throughout the country this fall, you can catch it at the Sunday market in Ohio City's Hingetown district Oct. 23, or schedule an appointment to stop by the couple's Rocky River studio. 440-364-4923,


We finally have a proper way to show our city pride in a professional setting thanks to Ape Made neckties ($25.95). April Bleakney started her company in 2011, designing Northeast Ohio-inspired items such as handprinted T-shirts, pillows and onesies. But she found one thing lacking at local craft shows such as Cleveland Bazaar or Made in the 216. "No one made neckties," she says. "There weren't a lot of men's items. So I just wanted to do something for the dudes." From a vintage map of downtown to one of the Cuyahoga River's iconic bridges, the playful designs make it easy to tie one on every day of the week. But our favorite features a gritty smokestack skyline that leads into "Cleveland" in big, bold letters — a nod to our industrial nature. "I was constantly commuting," says Bleakney, who moved from Kent to Cleveland in August. "Coming up [Interstate] 77, you see just mad smokestacks with the city behind it, which is quintessentially Cleveland."

Tuesday, October 01, 2013 5:57:15 PM by Anonymous
thank you cleveland magazine for these great picks!

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