Rise and Shine in Cleveland
Specialty Retail Report hosts regional networking event.
On June 15, Specialty Retail Report sponsored a breakfast in Cleveland, Ohio, bringing together area retailers and specialty leasing professionals to network and learn about Cleveland’s downtown redevelopment efforts. Plans for the redevelopment include the integration of carts, kiosks and small shops. The event was held at Tower City Center where continental breakfast was served and tickets for Cleveland Indians games were raffled off. Tower City Center, owned and operated by Forest City, is a mixed-use facility with more than 100 specialty shops and many full-service restaurants. The city’s vibrant fixture is located downtown in Public Square. Coordinator Melissa Musico Streicher, says attendees received swag bags that included giveaway items from the Cleveland Cavaliers and d’marie, a local company that sells gourmet food products.
Streicher, who is with the sales staff at SRR, is based in Cleveland and has been interested in holding small regional events to augment SRR’s annual tradeshow—SPREE. She reached out to Michelle Moss, the Specialty Leasing Manager at the Tower City Center to see if there might be interest in co-sponsoring an event. “She loved the idea immediately for it was an opportunity to not only bring in all the regional specialty leasing managers, but to open it up to other developers to attend,” Streicher said.
At the event, Streicher provided a recap of SPREE for retailers who were not able to attend this year. She shared event highlights and new product concepts—such as glitter tattoos from Glimmer Body Art and frozen cocktail fusions from d’marie—that generated buzz at the show.
Joseph Marinucci, President and CEO of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, outlined redevelopment efforts downtown. These include a casino, a Medical Mart and convention center that will open in mid-2013, and new investments in public spaces.
Marinucci said investments in Cleveland’s downtown are expected to create new retail opportunities. Kiosks are part of the overall downtown redevelopment strategy intended to provide retailers with an opportunity to get closer to their customers in an open-air environment; they are becoming increasingly popular in city centers. Marinucci plans to reach out to attendees and get feedback about managing specialty leasing operations downtown. He envisions the kiosks to be “small, boutique-type operations where we think we can, in essence, sell both food and non-food products.” Marinucci is considering focus groups as a next step in gathering feedback and assessing interest.
Event attendees tossed some fun into the mix by touring the new Horseshoe Casino. After the tour, attendees were encouraged to stay for a buffet lunch at the casino.
Streicher was pleased with the event, which met its objective of bringing people together to build networking contacts and learn more about Cleveland’s redevelopment plans. She hopes to host more such events in other areas of the country. “We’re hoping that this is just one of many of these regional events that will be held in the future,” Streicher said.