The Ohio City Firehouse sat empty for five years before Graham Veysey saw something in the 1854 relic. In 2011, the 31-year-old entrepreneur transformed the two-story building into a live, work and retail space, keeping its original red brick charm and adding glass-front garage doors. Veysey and his girlfriend, Marika Shioiri-Clark, took over the living space. Several businesses rented out the second floor, and Rising Star Coffee Roasters and Urban Orchid florist opened at ground level.
"We realized there was a real demand for a mixed-use village within Ohio City," says Veysey, who challenged Dennis Kucinich last year for his 9th District congressional seat. "So a place that didn't have anyone there — that didn't have any activity, didn't have any life or vitality — now has hundreds of people showing up to buy coffee, to get flowers, to go to work every day."
The firehouse's success, paired with the February opening of the nearby Transformer Station art space, led Veysey and Shioiri-Clark to consider developing beyond their four walls. "We wanted to create a brand around our neighborhood," says Veysey, "so that there was an identity that people relate with."
Enter Hingetown. Veysey hopes to make the strip along West 29th Street between Clinton and Detroit avenues the newest West Side hot spot. The area drew thousands for a July concert series and Parisian-style markets held in the last two months.
Veysey and others purchased the Block building in February and renovated seven retail storefronts to create a marketplace that will offer a juice bar, spin studio, tea shop and more. "We used to see people crossing the street to walk on the other side," Shioiri-Clark says. "But now you see people walking toward it, like, Oh, what's there? I should go shopping there."
Rising Star Coffee Roasters •' Baristas brew each cup individually using international beans roasted in-house each day. 1455 W. 29th St., Cleveland, 216-273-3573, facebook.com/risingstarcoffee
Kutya Rev Ohio City Dog Haven •' It sells holistic dog food and treats, plus dishes and accessories by local artisans. 1418 W. 29th St., Cleveland, 216-215-8895, facebook.com/ocdoghaven
Urban Orchid •' Fresh-cut blooms line the way to its back boutique, with antique colored dishes, locally made onesies and more. 1455 W. 29th St., Cleveland, 216-785-3618, theurbanorchid.com