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Market Avenue Closure Causing Headaches For One Neighborhood Business

The short street on Cleveland’s West Side that’s home to Great Lakes Brewing Company, Flying Fig and Koffie Café was closed to cars on July 1.

That decision is not sitting well with at least one business owner on Market Avenue: Greg Bodnar, who owns Koffie Café.

He’s been in business 25 years and has already seen a 50 percent drop in sales during the morning shift.

Commuters used to park in front, run in, grab breakfast and head to work, Bodnar said. That’s not possible anymore.

“They’ve inconvenienced my coffee drinkers, they can’t even get down the street,” Bodnar said. “If you try to look around where you can park, there’s no easy place to park and run in to get a cup of coffee.” 

Bodnar called for the street to be reopened on weekdays; the weeked closure he can live with.

“Five o’clock Friday. Then open it again Sunday at five o’clock,” Bodnar said. “That way you’d have the activity, you’d have the people because they’re down here for the West Side Market, they’re down here to support our businesses. It’s a no-brainer. People aren’t down here at seven in the morning other than to get coffee.”

A spokesperson for Ohio City Inc., the local development agency that received a three-month permit to close the street, says they will measure the closure’s effect on businesses.

But the goal of making the neighborhood as pedestrian-friendly as possible won’t end once summer is over. 

“For the last 10 years, closing the street has always been a conversation,” Ashley Shaw of Ohio City Inc. said. “We decided instead of continuing to talk about it, we’d do something.”

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