Startup, small business, call it what you may – it’s a challenge. Starting a business, opening a store, and putting your name out there is an extremely high-risk high-reward situation. Fortunately, Northeast Ohio is friendly to startups and small businesses, which are thriving across the region. When it came to deciding where I should start my business, I picked the historic and iconic Chagrin Falls.
Why Chagrin Falls? I’ll tell ya …
There is a deep history surrounding Chagrin Falls both as a village and a shopping community. While I am definitely not hip to the entire Chagrin Falls history, I can speak to it as a shopping destination.
I did not grow up in the village, but I did spend my childhood coming down here to do the “Chagrin Falls Routine.” We would look at the falls, go to get ice cream, feed the ducks and of course shop.
This routine is one that spans across Northeast Ohio and beyond. It dates much farther back than me. To be able to say I am now a part of that history is pretty cool.
When I decided to take the plunge into opening a brick and mortar, Chagrin Falls was really the only place I considered.
At the time, I did not know much about owning and operating a small shop but I knew it would help if I planted my store into a community that had a strong reputation and existing businesses that were thriving.
I cannot tell you how much I value the walkability of Chagrin Falls. First off, I am a walker. I would take a stroll over an uber almost any day of the week (weather and shoe permitting). I love that I can walk to get my morning espresso, hit up the bank and occasionally make a stop at the hardware store. I also love that my customers can pass through the store on their morning walk or make the store a stop on their village errand list. I think the walkability of the village further binds and strengthens the sense of community.
You know them, you love them, they are the annual village wide event that you can count on. As a small shop owner, events like Blossom and the Sidewalk Sale are perfectly served sale-oriented weekends. What entrepreneur would not love that?! Chagrin Falls values the success of its businesses – and it shows. And, the small community events contribute to the success of the town too. From the farmer’s markets during the warm months to the tree lighting – community events, small and large, are present all year long.
Chagrin Falls makes safety a priority. Thank you for that
Can we please talk about the fall in Chagrin Falls? Fall is by far my favorite season. The temps drop (slightly), the air is fresher and the leaves change. When that happens, there is no prettier place to be than Chagrin Falls.
The bonus is that on top of those visual and sensorial changes, the restaurants and coffee shops put pumpkin and cinnamon back on their menu and the clothing stores stock their floors with jackets, shirts with sleeves (finally) and boots (sorry toes). We have the total Fall package here.
When I opened HAVEN, I wanted to bring a different style to the area. I knew that by doing so I would either sink or swim. Thankfully the people of Chagrin Falls and the surrounding areas have embraced HAVEN. I value their personal style, brand knowledge and openness to try new things. There are some pretty rad ladies here.
There’s a saying out there – if you do not grow, you die. I have made that my motto in both my personal and business life. Let’s face it, the village of Chagrin Falls has proven it is not going anywhere.
As a business owner, opening HAVEN in an established community allowed me to form a clear vision for my business. It also gave me the ability to really understand my customer.
Because of those things, I can challenge myself to evolve daily as a brand and I can challenge myself to put the best product out there. I have only been here for about 3.5 years but in that short time, I can confidently say I have grown with the village and with my customers.
Loyalty has always been something I value in people. My customers and the people of Chagrin Falls are for sure loyal. Not only do the residents of Chagrin Falls love their village, they are loyal to each other and the business that form their community. And along with the residents loyalty, those who come to Chagrin Falls to visit often make it a point to return.
#supportLOCAL and #shopSMALL are nationally trending hashtags and hashtags you will find on HAVEN’s Instagram. Well I am here to start a new one – #chagrinfallssupportslocal. The extent of support I have felt both personally and professionally is something I did not expect. It is more than I could have asked for and I feel so blessed to have it.
I do not know if I would call it a mindset or a dedication but the tendency to support local is definitely unique to Cleveland and is absolutely a Chagrin Falls value. I am closing out my list with this because it is the top reason why I love having a small shop in Chagrin Falls.
About the author: My name is Cori Imbrigiotta. I am a diehard Cleveland-er, a devotee to personal style, an aspiring ‘girlboss’ and most importantly I am the owner of HAVEN, a women’s clothing and lifestyle store located in Chagrin Falls.