Opening in a historic downtown spot, the new Heinen's is about more than just groceries.
The sign may say Heinen's Fine Foods, but this is no ordinary grocery store. Whether you call it a turning point in downtown development or just a place to grab a quick cup of morning coffee, the opening of Heinen's in the former Ameritrust complex at East Ninth Street and Euclid Avenue is significant.
"The building means a lot to people who grew up in Cleveland," says Tom Heinen, Heinen's co-president. "Lots of them worked in it or around it."
Yet it may mean even more to the 13,000 people living downtown who finally have a true supermarket to call their own. "It's a unique usage for a historical building like this," says Heinen. "You can't help but be awed by the building once you get inside it."
Here's a glimpse at downtown's newest full service supermarket.
Seating on the ground floor of the 1908 rotunda provides sweeping views of the 60-foot glass dome above. Prepared foods cases and a salad bar ring the marble floors and the Cleveland Trust Co. medallion. "People who are one- [or] two-person households, millennials downtown, they're looking for quick meals," says Heinen.
Marble tables fashioned from the former teller counters offer seating where guests can sample hot and cold small plates, along with one of 12 beers on tap or 48 wines, available from a climate-controlled, self-serve cuvenee system. "The space is overwhelmingly beautiful," says Heinen. "When you look down, you get to see the hubbub over the railing."
Opening early at 6:30 a.m., Heinen's will look to fill the Euclid Avenue coffee shop desert between the 5th Street Arcades and Playhouse Square by offering Equal Exchange fair trade coffee, espresso and pastries. "I don't think there's an abundance of coffee solutions downtown right now," says Heinen. "So it made sense."
The make-as-you-go bar features rice bowls, salads and wraps with meat and veggie options and six internationally inspired sauces. Heinen expects prepared foods to sell well. "An urban supermarket is different than a suburban supermarket," he says. "That doesn't mean everyone doesn't have the same needs, but people shop differently."
For downtown dwellers, Heinen's 7,600 square feet of groceries, produce and dairy in the connecting 1010 Euclid Ave. building fills a void for necessities. While the selection will be smaller than a suburban store, so will the quantities. "We don't carry 38 rolls of Charmin," says Heinen. "We carry smaller packs that [customers] can carry."