Cleveland's Kinsman neighborhood plans a new kind of shopping complex to promote small businesses

More than 50 applications submitted for six spots

CLEVELAND - Small businesses have ten days left to apply for a spot in an innovative venture on Cleveland’s east side called “The BoxSpot.”

The two-story shopping plaza will be made out of converted shipping containers on the corner of E. 81st and Kinsman, one of the city’s most under-invested neighborhoods.

Only six spaces are available and already, more than 50 applications have been submitted. The proposed businesses range from hair and nail salons to candy and clothing shops.

One of the biggest selling points?

Rent and utilities will run small businesses $450 per month.

“We intentionally made it that affordable because we recognize that for micro-enterprises to grow, the occupancy cost has to be at a minimum,” said Timothy Tramble, executive director for Burten, Bell, Carr Development, the community group behind the project.

The BoxSpot is not meant to act as a business incubator, Tramble said, but rather to encourage long-term investment for small businesses looking for a retail space.

The ultimate goal is to act as a model for the neighborhood and within the community, he said. It is a goal he and BBC have been working toward for the last decade.

“When you say Kinsman today, there is definitely a better neighborhood identity than there was five years ago,” Tramble said. “We know that five years from now, it will be even better than it is today.”

The converted shipping containers will range in size from 10 ft. x 20 ft. or 10 ft. x 40 ft. They will be heated, air conditioned, and the complex will contain restrooms.

“I am confident that we will be successful with this,” Tramble said. “I’m so confident, we say this is not the endgame, this is the example, this is the model.”

Applications are due Nov. 30. Tramble said they hope to have the BoxSpot up and running by summer 2018.

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