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Lee Road Businesses Get a Facelift Updating an aging storefront isn’t just cosmetic, it’s good for business. It gives owners the confidence that what the customer sees matches what the customer gets. And it can spur neighboring business owners with buildings in need of some TLC to follow suit and do some sprucing up, too. With that in mind, City economic development staff applied for $50,000 in 2015 from Cuyahoga County to fund the Lee Road Storefront Renovation Program. The program specifically targeted businesses in the half-mile section of Lee between Chagrin and Scottsdale boulevards, and enabled them to make façade, signage, awning, and landscaping improvements. Participants paid for about half the renovation costs and a grant from the Storefront Program matched the balance (up to $16,000). City funds covered design costs. Three buildings (opposite page) – Discount Cleaners (3601 Lee), Silas Buchanan’s State Farm office (3605 Lee), and the former Shaker Heights Teachers Credit Union (3581 Lee) – were beneficiaries of the program. In addition, the newly renovated Protem Homecare building (3535 Lee), was able to purchase new signage (below). The City’s Economic Development Department hired a design specialist to help property owners determine the scope of their projects. “Most of these buildings are outdated by modern retail and office standards,” explains Economic Development Specialist Katharyne Starinsky. “Just a simple exterior change may help draw more of the 23,000 or so drivers who travel this section of Lee Road on the average day.” Discount Cleaners owner Lenny Ratner agrees. “Anything positive will help improve the area,” he says. The dry cleaner now features new front windows, two new side windows, new signage, and a canopy over the front door. Protem Provides Quality Healthcare to Homebound Patients Ada Nworie began her home healthcare business, Protem Homecare, more than 11 years ago as the company’s sole employee with one patient. Today, Nworie has a network of more than 300 caregivers who provide home healthcare services to patients throughout Cuyahoga County. She also has a newly renovated, two-story home base at 3535 Lee Road (at the corner of Lee and Lomond Boulevard). Currently, Nworie and 13 employees work there, overseeing business operations. Nworie’s staff includes skilled nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, medical social workers, and certified home health aides. Protem prides itself on providing customers with high-quality personal care service – a companywide value based on Nworie’s own experience. “When I finished nursing school, I did home care and I really saw the difference I could make in people’s lives,” Nworie says. “Patients will often listen to their nurses before they listen to their doctors. That means nurses can really build some special relationships with patients.” Protem Homecare’s Lee Road office is its second office in Shaker. The first office was located on Warrensville Center Road, but was demolished as part of the Van Aken District renovation project. Nworie’s decision to stay in Shaker was easy. “Shaker is centrally located for me and our employees,” she says. “And the City has been very supportive of my business.” Learn more about Protem Homecare online at protemhealth.com, or call 216-663-8188. Pete Ina, who owns the former credit union building, is optimistic about the program’s overall effect on the area. “It’s true that a lot of these businesses need updating, but look at what’s happened in places like Kamm’s Corners, Cleveland Heights, and Lakewood,” he says, referring to successful storefront renovation efforts in those communities. For years, Ina used the building as a warehouse for his Sunoco station next door, but now that the space has a clean, fresh look, he hopes to lease the space to a service industry tenant. “This has been a wonderful opportunity. And it’s important that the City took the lead on this and invited business owners to join them,” says Silas Buchanan, whose State Farm office has a new entrance, windows, and updated landscaping. “We, as business owners, care. We’re not going anywhere and we hope it’s a call to action for other businesses to follow our lead.” SHAKER LIFE | SPRING 2017 13


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