CLEVELAND — More than two years in the making, a unique shipping container shopping mall is finally ready to become reality on Cleveland’s east side.
The BoxSpot is located on East 81st Street and Kinsman Avenue.
It’s difficult to miss the two-story stacks of retrofitted shipping containers, painted bright yellow and gray.
It’s the brainchild of Burten, Bell, Carr Development Inc, a neighborhood community development group. Timothy Tramble is the executive director and calls the project a “labor of love.”
Tramble said they are thrilled to be able to create a model that the community has been asking for, for years.
“The community wants to see development that they can be a part of,” Tramble said. “Not just socially, but economically. And every single one of the micro-enterprises is from the community so we’re very proud of that.”
The shipping container shopping mall consists of seven businesses, chosen from a pitch competition where dozens applied two years ago.
There is a nail salon, kids-only hair shop, a candy store, a restaurant, screen-printing shop, clothing boutique, and an optician and eyewear store.
Olympia Robinson is the optician at ISpecz Eyewear.
“This is an awesome experience, it’s been a dream of a lifetime with a cool project like this,” Robinson said, as crews put the finishing touches on her shipping container store. She will offer prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, and take vision insurance. She said she wanted to open up in the BoxSpot after realizing there isn’t an optician for miles nearby.
“There’s hundreds of people here that need eyeglasses and need my help and my service so I’m ready!” Robinson said.
In addition to the stores, there is also an amphitheater and stage for community events. When it’s fully up and running, community members can set up shop on Saturdays from 1pm to 5pm to sell their goods in an open-air market.
The BoxSpot will be open to the public on Saturday, Sept. 21.