Barbara Payne's Capitalist Cleveland Blog

News and Views: Entrepreneurs a-thrive in Northeast Ohio

Thursday, March 30, 2006

B is for Bad - movies, that is

Well, where have I been? Didn't realize the Centrum Theatre had morphed into another creature. But apparently the GROUND FLOOR THEATER in Cleveland Heights has been making news. Check out the article and photo of the theater in last week's PD Sunday Arts section. And they're also in the current issue of Cleveland Magazine.

GFT is a new comedy theater located at 2781 Euclid Heights Blvd. (at Coventry) in the old Centrum Movie Theater. And here's the best part: Full bar available for all shows. Arrive at 7:30 p.m. Call 216-255-6533 or check here.

Hey - we're in the news yet again: So far this year, the Ground Floor Theater has been featured in the Akron Beacon Journal, Scene Magazine, The Free Times, The Plain Dealer, The Sun Papers, and The News Herald... to name a few. Also, listen to WMMS 100.7-FM for promotions and giveaways. "

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Marketing Cleveland - you go, guys

Good to see this happening. If the region sees results from initial efforts to get Cleveland's image polished up and people paying attention, I'm sure more money will come to support marketing Cleveland to the rest of the world.

Good article, John. Thanks.

Tra-la Trolley

A big congratulations to RTA and the Convention Bureau. This idea will be a real coup if Clevelanders can be trained to take advantage of it. RTA has developed a two-trolley service to replace loop buses.
  • The E-Line trolley will link entertainment venues, from the Warehouse District at West Ninth Street, down Euclid Avenue past Playhouse Square to East 21st
  • The B-Line trolley will connect business, circling Superior and Lakeside Avenues between West Sixth and East 12th Streets. Both lines will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with 10-minute frequency.

They're having a party-atmosphere introduction and the service is free until Labor Day. Wouldn't it be nice to park cheap and ride the trolley to meetings around town--or to a business center where you can relax or work between appointments? And how about attending sports events--not a bad idea. Check out the press release here.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Dreaming of your own business? How about buying in?

Apparently, Ohioans are big on entrepreneurism--and a lot of them do it by purchasing a franchise. But, if you've ever evaluated one yourself, it can be very hard to find out all the information you want to feel you can make a wise decision.

An entrepreneurial company in Beachwood, Franchise Selection Specialists, specializes--as you might suspect--in helping people pick franchises. Neat idea. And now they've created a website/portal for people searching for information about franchising.

Another neat idea. I know that many people who, once they get started in franchising, regret after a while all the money they have to pay the franchiser. But if you don't have the background to get going in your own business, just remember: there are some franchise agreements that one day let you break free (I knew a guy who had a printer franchise--when he "finished" his term with the franchiser, he had to change his name of course). But think hard about also losing all the support a franchiser provides. You have to start paying yourself for all that preprinted marketing stuff you used to get from them--and that they got dirt cheap because they print it for ALL their franchisees.

Lots of things to think about. Check out the website here.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

All about gin...

Oh, this is too good. The Velvet Tango Room, a little place tucked away on Columbus Street in Tremont that got a big writeup maybe about two years ago in the Plain Dealer, has just announced a Gin Appreciation Class.

Now I don't know about you, but as a hard-working entrepreneur I feel it's critical to keep up to date on the latest methods of relieving stress. I have personally sampled and make regular use of some of the best, including cabernet sauvignon, vodka and Crystal Light Pink lemonade with soda, and numerous others according to the place I'm at or the person who's buying.

If I were going to be in town this week, there'd be no way I would miss this Monday night event March 27. If you can, please go in my place and report back. I want to savor my new stress-relief options at leisure... Here's the scoop:
"Classes will be finished with a short presentation entitled “The Bar and Cocktail Dynamic”, and how you can utilize this social paradigm in practice and theory. Class is limited to 20 people. Cost is $50 per person ($90 per couple). Call to reserve 216 241 8869."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Wanna talk turkey at CWRU?

Case Western Reserve University is putting on a "really big show" come Wednesday and Thursday, April 5 and 6. Hundreds of scientists and scholars are getting together to celebrate the broad range of research being conducted at Case and its affiliates, and you're invited to participate. Sharry Floyd, Case's corporate relations person, highlights a few of the star speakers you'll get to hear:

Forum topics will include discussions on diabetes and cholesterol in the US, innovation and creativity, energy in the 21st century, bio-terrorism, integrity in research and more.

For more information and to register, visit the site or call 216-368-5963.

Anchors away? Nah.

The real phrase, from a song about the U.S. Navy, is "anchors aweigh," but I'm using the play on words to describe the idea that as Case Western Reserve University's president resigns, the concomitant disarray threatens two important economic development projects.

I like the idea also put forth in the same article that these projects are so good for the region that the business community will take over and make sure they're completed. The NEO entrepreneurial community grows stronger with solid connections between business and higher education--which results in everything from a larger pool of qualified job candidates to more dependable support for research and development.

Been reading lately how capitalism is the only system that continues to work, decade after decade. Glad to see it's sticking true to form in Northeast Ohio.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Blog panel today at NODMA luncheon

If you've ever wondered about blogs and what the heck they have to do with marketing your business, today's the day to get the lowdown. I'll be facilitating a panel of three local experts on the topic -- Jim Kukral, Anita Campbell, and George Nemeth are all professional bloggers who can tell you anything you want to know about how blogging can help your business--or even in some cases, become your business.

We'll talk about three aspects of blogging today: the people side, the technology side, and the money side--as in, how to use blogging to make it.

JOin us at the Northeast Ohio Direct Marketing Association (NODMA) lunch at Windows on the River in the Powerhouse in the Flats today at 11:30. Read more and register at

Friday, March 10, 2006

Urban Repair--grassroots

Some interesting ideas generated at the last Urban Repair meeting. "Wander neighborhoods and observe what goes on--then imagine what could be better." The big thing is to remember that capitalism works because projects are designed as win-win.

One that stood out as unusual was "Don't partner with anyone else" or your identity will be lost--submitted by a local ward person. Certainly has a positive and negative side--yes, small groups who try to team up with biggers in Northeast Ohio (and probably many other places) do tend to get subsumed and have their goals and agendas folded into oblivion. But surely isolationism hasn't solved anything yet either.

Another one that caught my eye--be more friendly--rang true. Political and social factionalism do indeed interfere with community-building efforts and actually seem to result in a sort-of isolationism-by-group...the old us-and-them phenomenon. But where do you start? Where does a factional approach come from? As a person who writes about business leadership, I can almost guarantee that it starts with business and community leaders who are territorial. When the model at the top is truly participatory, the people tend to pick up on the fact that efforts to court favoritism won't succeed. It's like when kids learn not to lie because lying gets them in trouble--they usually quit.

I especially like this one: "Do critical-mass walks in neighborhoods where drugs and gangs prevail or anywhere people feel unsafe." How about if we start with downtown!? I reported here a while back about a visitor from another country who was here for a conference and said he felt nervous walking around downtown at night (not even late) because the only people he saw were homeless/vagrant.

I hope the Urban Repair project gets legs soon and we can see some of these ideas put into action. Read more

Monday, March 06, 2006

Getting old--people and houses

You're going to need $200 grand for your healthcare in retirement, according to today's Crain's, no matter what your income level. Personally, I'm telling my kids to take the Eskimo way--just put me on an ice floe and wave goodbye.

But Crain's also writes about some guy in the New York Times Sunday magazine bemoaning the fate of older suburbs. And yes, some places like Shaker Heights are having to change their philosophy in order to keep their housing stock up -- it used to be people of all levels of income could find a place in Shaker, but the city's inability to build a bigger business tax base has driven the taxes really high, and now they're harrassing the heck out of homeowners (particularly the beautiful two-family homes abundant in certain areas) to spend more and more on updating their properties. It's getting rougher for a bigger-range-of-ordinary-income people to afford to live there.

Anyway, in Europe they didn't go to the suburbs thing so much. They kept on investing in their cities, refurbishing as they went along. In Chicago, the city is so attractive that investors attack it in segments. Many of them tear out the innards of older buildings and put spiffy new systems and decorative touches in--and because people love living in the city, they buy them in droves. The price of real estate in many areas averages 10% appreciation (inflation?) almost every year.

Cleveland's got too much going for it. And the places like Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights are the antithesis of this guy's fear--losing culture. People are in the streets, neighbors get to know each other, residents band together to fight crime when it occurs.

No one says it's easy, but we have the passion to overcome our problems. We write about people like that on Capitalist Cleveland all the time.