New businesses are opening in Tower City Center, giving hope for a recovery

CLEVELAND – New life is on the way to Tower City Center in downtown Cleveland.

Many visitors and business owners say they hope this will help the mall return to the way it once looked years ago.

“I remember that Tower City was a real exclusive. It was very nice,” said Kenneth Whitley, walking down memory lane of when the mall first opened.

“I used to come here with my parents and see a lot of businesses booming at the time,” Whitley said.

Now, as you walk down the steps to Skylight Park in this day and age, people like Whitley say they don’t get the same spark they once felt.

“When things started going down, a lot of businesses started moving to different places, and now it’s all a mess,” Whitley said.

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

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

Offering a variety of services from makeup to photography, Garrett is confident her studio will bring more visitors to the mall.

“I’m hoping to bring in new clientele, maybe some people who haven’t been here for a while. Being 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 idea for her wedding and formals boutique.

“Everyone needs a prom dress. Most people need a wedding dress,” said James, owner of Darlafoxx. “There are so many formal events that people have to shop for.”

James said it was a full circle moment for her as she landed her first job in Tower City working as a legal secretary.

“Just like the crowd downtown,” James said. “I liked that about him.”

Since then, she says, she has seen Tower City decline.

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

“Hopefully he’ll be able to recover,” Whitley said.

The official grand opening of the Blush gallery is this Sunday.

Then, next Saturday, January 28th from 12pm to 4pm, Darlafoxx is inviting people to come check out her shop.

“We’re so focused on entrepreneurs,” said Bedrock Vice President of Operations and Leasing Jason Russell. “We offer an opportunity to individuals who are opening a store or one they may have dreamed of for so long. They were doing it out of their house, and now they can get their own bricks and mortar.”

Last year, Russell said they were able to sign 17 new leases.

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