Celebrate Uptown Lakewood
I have a secret to tell. I had never shopped on Madison Avenue until last year. That’s right. I’d lived in Lakewood for over 4 years before I ever ventured to Madison Avenue. It’s sad but true. Let me explain.
Five and a half years ago my husband and I drove up and down the side streets of Lakewood. “This is where I want to live,” I said. “I want to live in a house with a front porch and friendly neighbors and I want to be able to walk everywhere.”
We were relocating to the Cleveland area and were looking to find a city or neighborhood to call home. Very quickly we recognized that Lakewood was a perfect fit for us. That night we left our hotel room to check out “downtown” in the city we would soon call home. We wandered into a restaurant that we thought seemed pretty cool, bellied up to the bar and chatted with the bartender who told us they had been open for just about 6 months. The restaurant was Melt Bar and Grilled.
Over the following 2 years I’m sorry to say that, while I lived in Lakewood, I didn’t get to spend much time here. Six days each week I would get in my car at 7am and I wouldn’t return until 6 or 7 pm. My job took me to many East Side suburbs, far away from home. My only true Lakewood times were on “fun Sundays,” when my husband and I would walk downtown to visit Melt for brunch or lunch or dinner.
In the spring of 2009 I was thrilled when my job finally brought me to Downtown Lakewood. What an exciting time it was! The Downtown Lakewood Business Alliance (DLBA) had just been formed and I was lucky enough to take part in the development of the downtown district of the city I lived in. With a slow and steady start the DLBA began to have impact.
A couple of years later as I readied myself to open my own business in Lakewood I knew I wanted to be part of a strong business community. I had seen, as many of you have, the power of businesses and citizens on a joint mission of development. It is awe-inspiring to look at the growth of Downtown Lakewood!
During this time I was watching and waiting for the right location to open my business. Then one day I took a wrong turn and serendipitously found myself at the corner of Mars and Madison Avenue staring at a “For Rent” sign in a beautiful historic building. On instinct I pulled my car to the curb and pressed my face to the window of what would soon become my second home.
As I approach the one-year anniversary of Holistic Lakewood I find myself in a neighborhood of enthusiastic entrepreneurs who are committed to providing niche products and services to the Lakewood community. At the suggestion of business owner Renee Lavelle, a group of Madison Avenue merchants gathered in September to discuss how we might help grow activity and interest in our neighborhood.
During this first assembly we found that while we offer distinctly different products and services we have one thing in common: We are locally-owned and operated businesses who are committed to the community of Lakewood. If you venture uptown to Madison Avenue you’re sure to find all sorts of specialty shops offering niche products and services that you just can’t find anywhere else.
This is Uptown Lakewood.
In the few blocks between Elmwood and Arthur Avenues you’ll find delicious home baked goodies at Elmwood Home Bakery, eclectic interior furnishings, design and home staging at Metro! on Madison, guitar and amp repair, custom builds and lessons at Dirty Town Guitar and Amps, holistic wellness care and supplements at Holistic Lakewood, fun and flashy fashion at Thirstees Little Bling Shoppe, leather goods and repairs at Leather Naturally, low key cocktails at The Mars Bar, delicious eats and micro-brews at The Buckeye Beer Engine, smokin’ deals on hardware and tech support at Delta Computers, first-rate styling at Carabel Beauty Salon… and much, much more!
It’s hard for me to believe that it took over 4 years for me to discover all the wonderful things available on Madison Avenue. It’s been a great first year in business and I’m now proud to call myself part of the Uptown Lakewood business community.
This fall and holiday season I invite you to shop local and take advantage of all the unique eats, treats and finds available in Uptown Lakewood.
I am a Wellness Coach and volunteer for the Down Town Merchants Association of Lakewood Alive.