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Madison Avenue Business Closings Not Part of a Trend, Officials Say

Quite a few businesses have either recently closed their doors, or will be soon. Most of them are on Madison Avenue.

Of the five businesses that recently closed — or are getting ready to close — five of them were on Madison Avenue. 

Once a staple in the community, now has a “for rent” sign in its window after . A similar sign hangs in the Madison Avenue storefront window of , which in favor of an online-only business model.

In addition, announced that , and a sign hangs in the Lily Rose variety shop that it, too, is going out of business.

That store, at 13341 Madison Avenue — across the street from the , which closed in May — is having a going-out-of-business sale.

The only recent business closing on Detroit Avenue was the convenient store, which . 

However, business leaders in Lakewood say the closings on Madison Avenue aren’t part of a local trend. 

Kathy Curran-Sinatra, who owns and is a member of the Madison Avenue Merchants Association, said that there’s no reason to panic.

She said they're all closing for different reasons, not just dollars and cents. She said that there are fewer empty storefronts — and more new and successful businesses — than she’s seen in recent years.

Curran-Sinatra, who is marking her 10th year in business this year, also said that businesses that work together have a better success rate. 

“If you stick together, if you plan clusters in your neighborhood, you only increase your chances of survival,” she said. “You have to have a different outlook — you may not even break even in your first year, let alone make a million dollars.”

What’s the trend?

Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development, said that the only trend he’s seen during his tenure in Lakewood is an increase in storefront businesses — on both Detroit and Madison avenues.

He said the buildings with “chronic vacancies” are those with residential space upstairs owned by “long-term, absentee owners” who have paid their buildings off long ago.

“They’re not terribly interested in the storefronts,” Siley said. “We see progress when the buildings change hands.” 

“What you’re seeing now is that people aren’t just moving to Madison because they can’t afford the rent on Detroit — they like the character and the feel of Madison.”

Parking an issue?

At least one of the businesses that announced it was closing, Zappitelli’s on Madison, cited a lack of parking as part of the problem. 

Curran-Sinatra said there are a number of reasons that businesses fail on Madison Avenue, but added that a lack of parking isn’t one of them.

“If you really want to go somewhere, you can find a place to park,” she said. “You would walk no farther than if you went to the mall and it was busy and you had to walk through a parking lot to get to the mall.”

City officials say they’re paying attention to the concerns.

“There’s no parking solution that’s going to solve everything,” said Mayor Michael Summers last year when rolled out . “We realize there’s a lot of creativity and strategy required, and we look forward to addressing these issues.”

Madison Avenue: The ‘new frontier’

With all the recent development and media attention on Detroit Avenue, it’s easy to assume that Madison Avenue is an afterthought.

“We haven’t been ignoring Madison Avenue,” Siley said.

He said the city is “aggressively” pursuing . A traffic signalization project — similar to the project on Detroit ­— would likely follow.

Siley also said the city will focus its storefront renovation program on the Madison commerical corridor in 2013.

Higher property values and higher rent on Detroit Avenue, also make Madison Avenue an attractive alternative for potential business owners, he added.

“Madison Avenue is kind of a new frontier in Lakewood,” Siley said. “It’s a competitive location, you still have all the benefits of living in an accessible and walkable community and it has a different building stock that is interesting and presents a very big opportunity for more investment.

“I think that’s where you’re going to see investment in the next two to three years,” he added. 

Alexandra August 16, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Goddess Blessed is an awesome place, more than just a business...
Renee Lavelle August 16, 2012 at 12:24 PM
My section of Madison is quite lovely, I am at Mars ave, as I mentioned in a blog post also, I would really like to see my section ( and others) become little districts as well. We have Malleys, good bar/rest- Now we just need some new lil shops and or coffee etc that intice people to walk around and shop- I hope in a few years I look back and I am glad i got in early! :)
Joni Nowak RN/CCRN August 16, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Madison Ave is Lakewood's 'Uptown' and the new Lakewood Learning Center is one business, thriving and happy to be here. We sit at 13002 Madison and enjoy plenty of "free" parking, street-side and across the street at Madison Park. I chose this location because I took a one-bedroom apartment above the storefront for convenience, primarily. The owner of this building is responsive and does a great job of maintaining the property. The Lakewood Learning Center is a progressive E Learning Facility for many American Heart Assoc and Ohio Dept of Job & Family Services Classes too. The State Tested Nursing Assistant course also runs out of the Learning Center on a monthly basis. It is taught traditionally. There are many thriving businesses on Madison that are stable and here to stay: Angelo's Pizza (people come from miles away to enjoy their pizza), the Cycle shop, Cottage of Flowers, Adkins Printing, to name just a few.... and now the "Lakewood Learning Center"! Don't write us off. Madison is and will continue to be a likely alternative to opening a business on Detroit because of these positives and more. The city of Lakewood coupled with the initiatives originating in the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce give beginning entrepreneur's a fighting chance of bringing to life a stable, successful business on Madison Ave. You have to want it, have a solid plan and a lot of energy going forward. Joni Nowak RN/CCRN Owner, Lakewood Learning Center
Colin McHale August 16, 2012 at 01:17 PM
The only reason LaBella closed their storefront is because the owner is about to have a baby, so she's going back to online orders for the time being (per her twitter)
Kimberly August 16, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Goddess Blessed really is a wonderful place with a strong community focus!
Pat Ballasch August 16, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Parking in some older areas is challenging. We use our cars more than they did in the 1920's. Rather than pretend there's plenty of spaces let's work toward cost effective solutions. Let's let the property owners find some of their own solutions too. The city (taxpayer) should not be the first choice for solving private property needs.
Adam Carroll August 16, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Zappitelli's isn't closing because there of a lack of parking, but we are closing because a neighbor complains that we take up all of the street parking (which is not true) so much that the police are being called on a regular basis. I understand, as I always have of Lakewood, that parking is an issue but walking an extra block is really not that big of a deal for myself or the majority of my customers. We are closing because of the harassment from the neighbor and the lack of assistance from city officials.
Mark Kays August 16, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Is Zappitelli's relocating, because it would be shame to see the establishment leave completely. I really enjoy your Pizza!
Adam Carroll August 16, 2012 at 04:53 PM
We are hoping to. Thank you.
Michael August 16, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Have you considered moving into the location where Red Rooster was?
Joni Nowak RN/CCRN August 16, 2012 at 05:01 PM
City officials have been outstandingly helpful, also the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce. As far as Zappitelli's goes, they could take a lesson from Angelo's Pizza which has resolved some of their parking issues by offering valet parking during prime hours. Being creative has afforded them an extended customer base. I imagine Zappitelli's felt the gnawing competition from an eatery as well established as Angelo's and that was part of the issue.
Cindy Marx August 16, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Just love Zappitelli's - best pizza in Cleveland! On the rare occasion that I visit Crocker Park I have to walk much farther than I would if shopping in Lakewood, no matter where I park, to get to where I want to go - that doesn't seem to deter people from shopping at Crocker Park! If we, the residents want to maintain our "small town" feel in Lakewood we have to support the businesses that choose to function out of our available store fronts, even though it might require a little walk. It seems that when developers want to invest in our neighborhoods, like Drug Mart, we want them to reduce their parking spaces. I hope Zapatelli's moves to the Red Rooster - what an asset that would be to the East end of Lakewood.
mike fridrich August 16, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I feel a little left out with all this talk about shops closing up, when we sell our building it will end a property that has been around in lakewood since 1915, one owner, I grew up next to the business and have lived my entire life in lakewood, but my business grew out of that location years ago but it still pains me to have to sell after 97 years in that building. I would hope someone will do something outstanding with the property, that will enhance the neighborhood, I don't think anyone will complain about my building being of historic value, so it's pretty much open to any business. I hope it sells soon. good luck mike fridrich just as a side note, North American Van lines ( which is a huge company now) started in business at our building back in oct of 1933.
Steve August 16, 2012 at 09:25 PM
And bye the way. When was the last time the Dem's here, ie(business leaders) really told you the truth. Madison has been in decline for 30+ years. But they(the powers to be) say there is no real problem. Dru, get out and walk Madison, then you might have a chance of correcting yourself. Even YOU stated that Madison is not in the major plan for Lakewood. Many people heard that, at various times in the past, including myself.
Laurie Solomon August 16, 2012 at 11:13 PM
hey Joni - Laurie here, Adam's mom. Just a side note about Angelo's - there is ABSOLUTELY NO competition between them and Zappitelli's - we bow down to them, such a business mind that has taken that establisment to the level they are at. Actually, we are very content with the people that don't want to wait in line to get in there! And actually we can't get into valet because we are technically a carry out restaurant, not a dine in. Many reasons for the decision being made, the neighbor issue just expedited the outcome greatly - but we are very excited about a couple of options that have been opened for us since the announcment - and we are also very grateful for the wonderful words from the people in Lakewood that want us to stay. It makes it all that much more important to be able to work things out!
kathy Curran August 17, 2012 at 01:21 AM
i strongly disagree with your statement of madison avenue being in decline for 30+ years....
Joni Nowak RN/CCRN August 17, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Hey Laurie, Whatever your reasons.......... much success in the future. I suppose I was just reacting to your son's less than flattering note about Lakewood's city officials. They are to be complemented for the job they do... have done with Lakewood over the last 10 years. As far as competition; why would you place so similar a business just a couple of blocks down from such a well established business. I don't get it. Like I said. Alot of people like your pizza. It'll find another home.....
Sonny Yereb August 17, 2012 at 03:11 PM
If Madison ave isn't in any kind of decline the how come it's been 20yrs since they have paved the entire stretch that runs through Lakewood? The East end is the pit of Lakewood as it has always been. This is a fact because I have lived here for 47yrs! Take a look at the Dollar Store! Take a look at Bi-Rite. They both should shut down just for cleanliness! Obviously The City of Lakewood has ingrained in the heads that the East End DOES NOT MATTER! Where are the inspectors????
Gabrielle McKernan August 17, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Businesses close because of lack of income, and not a good business plan. If people want to go to the business or want the product the business offers it will survive whether or not parking is an issue. People wait hours to eat at Melt, and people walk to go to shops. If people want something they will find a way no matter what!! The businesses that are closing are types of businesses that have already extremely well off established competitor businesses that they just can't compete with. I am part owner of MODA on Madison Avenue and we have been quite successful in our first year of business regardless of any "bad" things with Madison Ave. Businesses take a lot of work and dedication and not everyone is always successful --but it's a risk anyone takes when they open up their own business. I wish everyone success because nothing is better than being your own boss! :)
Michael August 17, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Couldn't agree more. They don't care about the East end of either Madison OR Detroit. They just keep pumping money into "downtown" as if that's the only area that matters.

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