Don't tell Mark Leddy to slow down. He won't do it. Not if it's going to stop progress in Collinwood.
Three years ago, the east Cleveland neighborhood defined urban blight: boarded-up storefronts, condemned houses, and crackhead hangouts. Everybody thought Leddy and business partner Cindy Barber were insane to make a music club out of a former Croatian hall on Waterloo Road.
Today, the Beachland is the neighborhood's biggest draw and perhaps the city's best concert venue. But Leddy's disappointed that the Beachland's success hasn't lured more entrepreneurs to Collinwood. So late last year, he leased a storefront a few doors down from the bar and opened up Beachland Salvage, an upscale secondhand shop where tawdry paperbacks go for a buck and a Jetsons-style coffee table could require a bank loan.
Leddy, a former antiques dealer at Suite Lorain, stocked the store with merchandise from a dozen dealers, who sell everything from vintage clothes and housewares to old toys and neon beer signs. By the time the shop opened in mid-December, dealers were also bringing in slabs of vinyl, which sent Beachland Salvage in a direction Leddy hadn't expected. "It seems to have filled a niche," he says, referring to vinyl's appeal among concertgoers. And the store's clientele, for the most part, is "destination traffic." "We see a lot of faces you see in the club."
The best customers so far, Leddy says, are the bands booked to play the Beachland. Folksinging sisters Kate and Anna McGarrigle walked out of the shop with a snare drum. Garage rockers the Sun dropped $300 on records. And members of the 14-piece Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra stocked up on jazz and reggae albums. "One of the guys said, 'Ah, geez. I didn't want to spend any money on this trip, but a $20 record I could buy in New York is only $4 here.'"
Welcome to Collinwood.