West Side Market vendors report big drop in business, ask city for rent reduction

West Side Market
Posted at 11:38 PM, Nov 11, 2016

Vendors at Cleveland's West Side Market report a big drop in business over the past several months, some vendors said sales are down 50 percent.

West Side Market Tenants Association President Vince Bertonaschi said rent for space at the market, collected by the City of Cleveland, has risen too high.

Bertanaschi also pointed to continued parking problems around the market, even though the city recently added 128 spots.

Bertanaschi believes many vendors are feeling the financial pinch, so he's collected more than 100 signatures on a petition, asking the city to grant a rent reduction of 10 to 20 percent.

"Oh it's terrible, it's terrible," said Bertanaschi. "Yes, It's an emergency. You don't raise the rent and then take away the means of making the money all in one fatal swoop, and that's what they did."

West Side Market vendor Jeff Campbell explained parking lot closures since April, and a growing number of Ohio City business around the market have created a huge parking shortage.

"I don't think any of us felt that we were going to be down this long, or that they were going to shut so much of the lot down to hurt our business they way they've hurt it," said Campbell.

Campbell believe the Ohio City business district needs an additional 500 parking spots so that West Side Market customers won't be left out.

The City of Cleveland will reopen renovated parking lots around the West Side Market on Nov. 12, but Campbell believes that it may not be enough to keep all vendors financially sound.