Downtown Cleveland businesses evaluate when to reopen

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Some businesses were just being boarded up Tuesday as downtown Cleveland starts to figure out when and how to reopen.

“A lot of those places, that’s their only store, that’s their location so they’re closed right now because they have to be waiting to open to clean up,” said Greg Vlosich, owner of GV Art Design who said he feels for his colleagues in the area who were vandalized.

Vlosich hadn’t opened the downtown location from the COVID-19 closure yet and said they’re fortunate the damage wasn’t worse. 

“They busted up windows, they busted up you know a bunch of pieces of artwork, again nothing that can’t be replaced,” Vlosich said.

He says they’re in no rush to reopen that location as they wait for the right time.

On Euclid Avenue, a Caribbean restaurant that was also vandalized has been working toward its grand opening. 

“We’re now literally trying to figure out if it’s going to set us back a little bit, you know, how much it’s going to cost for us to get the doors open and the windows replaced,” said UJerk Co-Owner Jon Manning.

Manning said he had been at the peaceful protest on Saturday and left for work. 

“We had a meeting for UJerk, that evening was when we got the phone call that it’s been broken into,” Mannind said.

He said the community clean up effort was encouraging: “I think that is probably what gave us even more strength.”

Manning said they’re confident that they can still open on their planned date of July 3.

Some businesses that weren’t damaged like Pizza 216 are changing reopening plans hoping to resume Saturday as Mayor Jackson extended the curfew for the downtown and market district areas through Friday each night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“I would imagine for Saturday we would probably close earlier than normal,” said general manager David Flowers of Johnny’s Downtown. “We’re waiting to hear what the mayor has to say about the whole weekend, too.”

They also had no damage but boarded up the doors and windows as a precaution. 

“Based on what we saw happening around the country we didn’t feel confident that it was going to end,” Flowers said.

Vlosich said they’re trying to use their platform and products, making an “Ohio Love” T-shirt, to move forward.

“We’re doing anything we can to spread love you know, we can’t judge why people are doing things and we’re not in their shoes to judge,” Vlosich said.

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