OK this guy, Alan Glazen seems smarter, harder working and more creative than average by a long shot. He's now in the Avertising Hall Of Fame! Still, his take on how Cleveland neighborhoods like Ohio City, Tremont and Detroit Shoreway offer a great stage for authentic craft businesses rings very true to me.
He's now taking his thinking to the bank by starting a second career involving himself in new local restaurants and other ideas.
"It's the same story now. Shoppers are growing tired of soulless big box stores and contrived "lifestyle centers." These places lack any ties to the community. They have no local personality. There is no desire for excellence; no quest to be the best; no locally sourced foods. If you opened a Friday's or Applebee's in Ohio City, it would be a ghost town."
Like me, Glazen sees parts of Cleveland that remind him of Brooklyn.
"The question of which neighborhood was easy: Detroit Shoreway. Having lived in Brooklyn, I felt right at home. Detroit Avenue was just like Smith Street in Carroll Gardens, where many New York chefs were opening indie bistros."
As he says--only come with an A game. This isn't about what's in the place already, as much as about what you are willing to bring to the table.
"And I assure you -- there is money to be made. You can absolutely make a living in these urban neighborhoods and others. Just do ordinary things extraordinarily. Offer exceptional things accessibly. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Why should you open your bicycle repair shop in a Cleveland neighborhood rather than in a suburb like Solon or Westlake? Because you share a spirit with the bike messengers and people who ride to work each day instead of drive."