“We were blessed at the Miles-Richmond corridor in regard to building and home improvement,” she says. Dozen of merchants and builders had gravitated there, offering virtually all the products and services needed by either contractors or homeowners for building or remodeling projects. But the area was not making any effort to promote itself, she says.
“The businesses were some of the best-kept secrets in the building and remodeling industry,” she says. “I thought Northeast Ohioans should know that everything they needed [for home projects] was available right here,” she says.
Mallin’s vision was embraced by businessmen in the area. In 2004, she started having conversations with Sheldon Edelman at Edelman Plumbing Supply. Other merchants joined them to form a 501(c)(3) corporation and name a board of directors. Now 28 businesses are members of the Building District of Bedford Heights, displaying blue banners in front of their stores.
Jon Kaplan, president of Stoneworks Ltd., says the association members looked to the Bedford Auto Mile as a model.
“When you buy a car, that’s where you go,” he says. “So when people have building projects, they go to the Building District. They can find everything they need there, with experts in each field to help them.”
Kaplan emphasizes the experience and training available from member businesses to customers looking for advice or guidance on their home projects. He says association members’ knowledge of each other’s strengths facilitates networking.
“If I’m asked who can do painting, I give the customer a brochure or direct them to the Web site,” he says.
At www.buildingdistrict.com, customers will find links to most of the member businesses, and coupons for savings from 10 percent to as much as 50 percent on products and services. Smart shoppers can also click directly to Park View Federal Savings Bank, where they can apply for project loans. The bank offers discounted interest rates to people who are working with the Building District.
Bob Somrak Jr., vice-president of operations for Somrak Kitchens, says the neighborhood’s theme could be traced to the early 1950s arrival of a hardware store.
“In the early 1950s, Sam Palvesky started a hardware business on Richmond Road,” he says. It grew to a publicly traded company called Building Systems in the 1960s. “Other construction companies saw his success and wanted to be in this corridor.”
People who worked for Palvesky started businesses of their own in the Richmond-Miles corridor. As those businesses prospered, they attracted others, according to the younger Somrak. By the 1980s, Somrak wanted the construction-related companies to network for their mutual benefit, but the demands of his own company took precedence, and the plan never got off the ground.
When Somrak met Mayor Mallin at an open house held a few years ago at Edelman Plumbing Supply, he realized she had the drive to make the idea a reality.
“Mallin was instrumental in making this happen,” he says. “She figured out how to help the business owners, with Web site development and consulting on health-care insurance.”
David Edelman, in charge of purchasing and marketing at Edelman Plumbing Supply, says the group has created a sense of community for its members.
“The relationship building is the best effect,” he says.
Another goal of the Building District of Bedford Heights is to attract new members.
“If you’re in building or remodeling, you want to be at Miles and Richmond,” she says. “There is always going to be a need for this in our community, in any economy.”
Nyman Construction can work with your architect or assemble a team to breathe life into the project you envision. From office buildings to schools to interior renovations, Nyman’s team prides itself on building long-term relationships with its clients. Whitehouse Construction also offers general contracting services, from replacement of doors, floors or other small jobs, all the way up to building or renovating schools, hospitals or group homes.
For larger-scale thinkers, The Darden Co. can build big-box stores or whole shopping centers.
The soul of a building can be found in its floors, walls, ceilings, lighting and plumbing fixtures. At the Building District of Bedford Heights, you can find thousands of products to make your project all your own.
Interior Supply can put an acoustical tile ceiling over your head, or drywall framing and insulation on your walls.
Edelman Plumbing Supply displays products from 165 manufacturers, including Franke kitchen sinks from Switzerland. Edelman also carries a line of television mirrors made by Seura, for people who want to watch TV from their bathtub or whirlpool.
H. Leff Electric offers supplies for new construction, maintenance or remodeling, including Rab outdoor lighting fixtures and Halo recessed ceiling or track lighting.
The Plumbing Source can repair water heaters, faucets and toilets. They also sell water treatment systems to reduce sediment, water hardness or the taste and odor of chlorine.
At Paley Plumbing and Fire Protection, owner Dave Paley says his services include commercial, industrial and residential plumbing and fire protection, including sprinkler installation. Video camera inspection of pipes is also available.
Once you have built your jewel, you want to keep it safe and secure. Bass Security Services offers locks and doors, video surveillance systems, burglar alarms and intercom systems, with an emphasis on customer service.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES
No matter how beautifully your project turned out, the signature of your own personality won’t be clear until the last gorgeous details are all in place. From the front doorknob to the lumber for your backyard deck, everything can be found at the Building District of Bedford Heights.
The Pella Window and Door Co. sells to contractors or homeowners for new construction, remodeling and replacement. Installation is available, with windows already painted or finished to match your house. New products include triple-paned windows that are highly energy-efficient.
John Hansen, president of the Suntrol Co., says he sells and installs scratch-resistant Mylar film for glass windows, including energy-control film to reduce the heat entering your home in the summer and retain the heat during the winter.
Babin Building Solutions, a 90-year-old company, offers cabinets, countertops, windows and doors in three market segments: new residential construction, a commercial division and remodeling and renovation. Custom countertops are made in the countertop shop Babin added a year ago, using laminates made by Formica or Wilsonart, or solid surfaces of DuPont Corian.
Owner and president Bill Klausner of Crystal Illusions Inc. creates residential and commercial art glass, including fountains, glass sinks, leaded-glass windows, and stained-glass and etched-glass shower doors and enclosures. He is one of the few in Ohio to make fused glass, shaping several smaller pieces to produce front doors, window inserts and tabletops. Klausner’s art includes freestanding sculptures and glass stairs.
Trudie Wilkins, owner of Houseworks Inc., says she specializes in contemporary furniture, primarily from Europe. Norwegian Ekornes recliners include chairs, sofas and sectionals, endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association for their good back support. Italian Natuzzi leather sofas offer comfort and sophisticated styling. Wilkins also offers an interior design service, which includes measuring rooms and recommending styles and colors of furniture.
Specializing in custom kitchen creation, Somrak Kitchens also designs and crafts cabinets for any part of the home. Starting in February, Somrak will host notable chefs from Cleveland-area restaurants to do cooking demonstrations in its Richmond Road showroom.
Jon Kaplan, treasurer of the Building District of Bedford Heights, is partner with Nick and Margaret Began at Stoneworks Ltd., which has thousands of tile selections as well as natural stone on site for countertop selections. Countertops are fabricated with computer precision using CAD software to form slabs of stone to any unique shape.
Lance Calvetta, who owns The Floor Show with brothers Austin and Jason, says his family can sell just about anything that goes on the floor to both commercial or residential customers. Ceramic tile, hardwood floors and cork or bamboo floors are available. Laminate floor products and natural stone, including polished marble, granite and slate, as well as area rugs and custom-sized carpets, are available.
Owner Joey Pearl says The Pearl Rug Co. offers about 4,000 lines of carpet. Handmade rugs from China and India are displayed with carpeting made from the latest synthetics, which he praised for their appearance and long-wearing qualities.