Soon after they retired from the military, Anthony Duvall and his business partner Lenny Carnegie began looking for a real estate investment opportunity. They were quickly drawn to Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood, which has added a number of new businesses in recent years.
“We were looking for up and coming neighborhoods, and we saw that there was an economic opportunity for small businesses in the area,” said Duvall, citing the city of Cleveland’s storefront renovation program.
The business partners identified a handsome brick storefront in need of renovation at 3312 Broadview Road, near the intersection of Broadview and Pearl. They purchased it last year for $166,320. Soon afterwards, they renovated the two upstairs apartments and found new tenants, then helped a catering company, KCC Catering, occupying one of two first floor storefronts to get up and running.
Now, they’re focusing on realizing their dream of bringing a new business to the district in the other storefront. “We want to bring a high-end cigar lounge to the area,” said Duvall of his new venture, Sticks and Stones cigar lounge. “The focus will be on cigar connoisseurs. It will be a place where you can purchase a cigar and relax in a nice atmosphere.”
The partners, who say their business will operate on a membership model but will also be open to the public, aim to be open Wednesday through Saturday every week. They have a D3 liquor license and are applying for a cigar license to sell tobacco products. Until then, they’ll give away cigars with drinks that are purchased. They hope to be open by March, and to eventually host local bands.
Lucas Reeve, Director of Neighborhood Development with Old Brooklyn Development Corp., is excited for the addition of Sticks and Stones to the commercial area, which they’ve rebranded by its historic name, Brighton. “The building is a pretty key building in our main commercial corridor,” he said. “It essentially sits at main and main, right at the crossroads of Pearl and Broadview.”
Although Old Brooklyn’s development momentum has been slowed by the pandemic, businesses are still kicking. “With the emergence of Old Brooklyn in the last few years, there are a lot of very young businesses,” he said. “The longer-lasting businesses that have been around a while have the ability to stay the course, while the younger businesses have probably shown more adaptability.”
He cited businesses such as Sixth City Cycles, which expanded into a new, 2,500 square foot storefront in the heart of Old Brooklyn as demand for bicycles took off during the Covid-19 pandemic, and Coffee Coffee Coffee, which also successfully transitioned to a delivery and takeout model. Additionally, Metropolitan Coffee began utilizing its drive-through exclusively for takeout. Even the neighborhood’s higher-end restaurants, like Opal on Pearl, have been able to do a decent weekend takeout business.
“That’s one of the things I’m most proud of – the ability to think creatively, pivot, and adapt,” he said.
“Businesses have been able to hang on with the support of residents,” he added. “The neighbors have supported these businesses in incredible ways.”
In the last 5 years, 15 new businesses have opened in the Brighton Corridor, amounting to $4-5 million in total investment, Reeve said. He is looking forward to additional commercial development in the next few years, especially with the addition of Brighton Park on the former Henninger landfill, which was developed by Old Brooklyn CDC, Cleveland Metroparks and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. It is slated to open in the spring.
He said Old Brooklyn CDC is focused on adding more businesses that bring activity and vibrancy to the streetscape, and that Sticks and Stones fits right into that vision. “Adding more body heat in the Brighton corridor is our goal for the next 24 months.”