EUCLID, Ohio — You know when you have a great idea for a business, but you need that push to get it off the ground?
A program in the city of Euclid is helping entrepreneurs turn their passions into brick and mortar shops in a unique way.
Michael Thompson has always had a pencil in his hand — drawing, sketching, creating.
He’s a 5th-grade science teacher by day and makes nostalgic artwork by night.
“Lot of things I grew up on, like 90s movies,90s sports, music, things that hit people here in the heart and be like ‘oh yeah, I remember when that happened!’”
Thompson is one of six entrepreneurs tapped by the city of Euclid to take a home-based business and turn it into a brick-and-mortar retail shop in the city’s growing downtown district.
It’s called the “Recast” program and is part of a nationwide effort.
“It’s going to become like an equal hustle, I’ll say, not even a side hustle anymore,” Thompson said.
Callie Cripps is Euclid’s economic development manager.
She says the pandemic forced people to find their passions, in the middle of all the job losses and struggles.
“Lots of people I am talking to, this is where their heart is. They might have been working a 9 to 5 but this is what they want to be doing, this is what they want to make a career out of so we want to do everything we can to help them,” Cripps said.
Cripps said they started with conversations with 20 small businesses, ended up with six wanting to go through an intensive training program.
They learned everything about managing finances, how to scale up, and how to best market themselves.
“If you’re a small home-based business and you haven’t been in a retail storefront, there’s a lot you don’t know unless you have that experience,” Cripps explained.
Then, the city teamed up with a local property manager with vacant storefronts on Lakeshore Boulevard to offer subsidized rent for the first few months.
Work is currently underway and by spring 2022, these spots will be home to a custom jewelry maker, a store selling hoodies and shirts with inspirational messages — and Thompson's nostalgic art shop, which will double as a museum.
“I get to get paid for both of my passions, teaching and art. It’s a win-win for me,” he said.
And hopefully a win-win for the city of Euclid — and the people who live here.