Shopping Boom

New retail grows in Avon and Elyria.

As the home-building boom spreads through eastern Lorain County, more shopping is sprouting up, too.

French Creek Square is the newest shopping development in Avon, located at Route 83 and Detroit Road. The city earmarked the area as the gateway to the French Creek District, says Shannon Blackwell, chief operating officer for Zeisler Morgan Properties Ltd., which built the center.

"The purpose of the gateway," Black-well says, "was a means for the city to reinvent or create a new downtown." Zeisler Morgan was attracted to the location because of Avon's growth, he adds, "but also it fit very nicely with the type of architecture we do." Zeisler Morgan usually builds in a Western Reserve architectural style, which the city requires in the Detroit Road area, a combination of established antiques shops, new mega-retailers and smaller upscale shops. The company also developed and owns Ridge Park Square in Brooklyn and Westwood Town Center in Rocky River.

The 10-acre French Creek Square includes a signature clock tower building that will house Cici's Pizza, DryClean USA, Quizno's Subs, Curves for Women, Great Clips, United Wireless and Cold Stone Creamery. A Bob Evans recently opened and a Fifth Third Bank branch is under construction.

French Creek Square is across the street from Avon Commons, a shopping center with pedestrian-friendly walkways, upscale shopping and anchors such as Kohl's, Marshall's, Target, Home Depot and Heinen's. It is just down Detroit from the French Creek District's antique, gift, collectible and furniture stores.

Westfield Shoppingtown Midway in Elyria — Lorain County's only enclosed mall and the second-largest mall in Northeast Ohio — is also growing. A new, affordably priced, collegiate-apparel retailer, unnamed so far, will open a 45,000-square-foot store by fall, the first of its kind in the Cleveland area, says Mark Bressler, general manager of the mall.

The mall has also welcomed several new stores, including the Cleveland Indians Team Shop, Whitehall Jewelers, women's-apparel store Christopher and Banks, Vitamin World and American Greetings. Midway Cinemas also re-opened last year to offer first-run movies at affordable prices. The mall will soon have a full-service restaurant, the 7,000-square-foot Tokyo Steakhouse.

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