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Cleveland’s retail incubator 'Glenvillage' makes comeback, welcoming community to reopening

house of b jewels
house of b jewels
Posted at 7:30 AM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 08:51:24-05

CLEVELAND — Cleveland’s retail incubator, Glenvillage, is back.

The space is reopening after the pandemic and statewide mandates forced many of its businesses to close almost immediately after its original grand opening in February 2020.

“That's why we say allow us to reintroduce ourselves,” said LaRese Purnell, Operations Manager of Glenvillage “We're just again trying to excite and reengage the community to see this asset again.”

The idea is rooted within the city's neighborhood transformation initiative, which invested more than $17 million into Glenville Circle North. More than $1.4 million of those dollars was allotted to create and build Glenvillage in an effort to make way for small business owners to rebuild wealth and community and eliminate barriers faced when opening up a storefront. At one point, 40% of the properties in the Glenville neighborhood were vacant.

house of b jewels

“I always say that small businesses are the foundation of our community, not just because of the amount of business or the number of jobs that they create, but really they are,” said Purnell. “They are the people that I would say young kids in our community look up to.”

The opportunity is a dream come true for custom jewelry designer Brittany Nichols, one of seven business owners housed inside Glenvillage. Her passion for gems, which she also uses to describe her customers, is now on full display for the first time since she started her business online seven years ago.

house of b jewels

“I've dreamt this for so long. I never imagined that I would have a storefront so that the fact that this is actually happening to me, I'm still in awe and I'm still in shock, but I'm excited for this blessing,” Nichols said.

Nichols says operating online proved to be beneficial, yet challenging.

house of b jewels

“I offer custom pieces, which I usually offer a consultation. So, to be able to offer a consultation in person is so much different than over Zoom or over the phone,” Nichols explained. “Jewelry is more of a personal buy, so it is better for you to try it on [and] see it in person versus you just guessing and saying, ‘yeah, that's good.’ [Then], when you actually see it, you're praying that it is what you want it.”

Though she admits she’s nervous about her new journey with a brick and mortar, Nichols says she’s excited to serve the neighborhood, while giving her gems a home and place to feel confident and inspired.

“This is super important because it allows the people that are dreaming to actually go into fruition,” she said. “Don't put yourself in a box, you know? Really live out what it is that God puts you on this earth for…live out your purpose.”

The grand re-opening of Glenvillage will take place Saturday, Nov. 13 from noon to 3 p.m. at 1400 East 105th Street with live music and more. For more information, click here.