Lorain Ave. bridge out due to 'Captain America' filming a good problem for Fairview Park businesses

Businesses welcome overflow crowds from movie sets

FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio - Rich Keller had plenty of business tending to cars in his shop within sight of the west side of the Lorain Avenue bridge. He couldn't remember the four lane road in front of his shop, Complete Automotive Repair and Service, closed to traffic for an entire day, ever.

Keller decided to make the most of it with a popcorn machine in front of his garage to make people not normally walking by feel welcome.

Many owners of businesses and residents were quick to complain about the inconvenience of a main thoroughfare's bridge redirecting traffic. One owner of a parking lot had filed a lawsuit because of it, one woman lamented, as she sat in front of her business.

"Everyone's been complaining about the bridge and everything else being closed down around here for the movie shooting. We figured, well, we'd take advantage of this and we'd pass out popcorn so that when the people walked by to see the movie set we could give them some popcorn," said Keller.

At another corner within view of action scenes being shot on the bridge is the East Coast Original Frozen Custard stand. On a sunny Friday, their Captain America Concrete special was almost a sell out. A young girl attending the window said hundreds had visited by 1 p.m.

On the east side of the bridge in Kamms Plaza is Carol and John's Comic Book Shop. John Dudas had his hands full giving out free $20 hardbound books, coloring pads and Captain America pins inscribed with 'Made in Cleveland' on each of their sides for anyone 12 and under who came dressed up in Captain America gear.

"We're just trying to help people through the whole Cleveland traffic transition and help people feel better about the filming in Cleveland, which we're very happy that it's here," said Dudas. "We actually contacted Marvel Comics directly who's inadvertently associated with Marvel Studios and they were happy to help us provide some stuff to hand out to people, to help with the whole thing."

And the extra effort paid off. Customers desiring free stuff, also bought plenty of Dudas' products while visiting.

Not a bad business move surrounding a bridge closing event for only one day.

"You can complain about it as a small business person, or try to take advantage of it, and that's Cleveland, man. We're a tough town, we can figure things out," added Dudas.

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