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New businesses open in Tower City Center, giving hope of rebound

Business owner is confident her studio, The Blush Gallery, will help bring more foot traffic into the mall.
Tower City Center in Downtown Cleveland.
Posted at 5:47 PM, Jan 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-20 18:45:02-05

CLEVELAND — New life is on its way to Tower City Center in Downtown Cleveland.

Many visitors and business owners say they hope this will help the mall bounce back to how it once looked many years ago.

“I remember Tower City being real exclusive. It was real nice,” said Kenneth Whitley, taking a stroll down memory lane to when the mall first opened.

“I was coming down here with my parents seeing a lot of businesses boomin’ back then,” Whitley said.

Now, as you walk down the stairs to Skylight Park in present day, folks like Whitley say they don't get the same spark they once felt.

“When things started to decline, a lot of the businesses started to move different places, and now it’s messed up now,” Whitley said.

But he remains optimistic that business owners like Brittany Garrett at The Blush Gallery can bring it back.

“I see a lot of positive things they’re doing here, even being a part of that I feel like it’s on a rise,” said Garrett, who is also Lead Makeup Artist at The Blush Gallery.

Offering a variety of services from make-up to photo content, Garrett is confident her studio will bring more foot traffic into the mall.

“I’m hoping to bring in a new clientele, maybe some people who haven’t been down here in a while. Being in downtown, I feel like it’s centrally located so a lot of people have easy access to it,” Garrett said.

Darla James says she has a similar thought for her bridal and formal boutique shop.

“Everybody needs a prom dress. Most people need a bridal dress,” said James, the owner of Darlafoxx. “There’s just so many formal events that people need to shop for.”

James said it’s a full-circle moment for her because she got her first job at Tower City working as a legal secretary.

“Just like the hustle and bustle of being downtown,” James said. “That’s what I liked about it.”

Since then, she says, she’s seen Tower City's decline.

“But I’m hoping by me being here, it will bring people here, and we’ll get that hustle and bustle back,” James said.

“Hopefully, it’ll be able to bounce back,” Whitley said.

The official grand opening for the Blush Gallery is this Sunday.

Then, next Saturday, on Jan. 28 from 12-4 p.m., Darlafoxx welcomes people to come check out her shop.

“We’re so focused on the entrepreneurs,” said Bedrock Operations and Leasing Vice President Jason Russell. “We’re giving opportunities for individuals who are opening a store or maybe they’ve been dreaming about for so long. They’ve been doing it out of their house and now they can get their own brick and mortar."

In the last year, Russell said they’ve been able to sign 17 new leases.

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