Don't let the seemingly abandoned lot surrounding the Cleveland Asia Market deter you from venturing inside and taking advantage of the aisles upon aisles of goods and foodstuffs at this Miles Road gem. Here, shoppers can load up their carts with imported snacks from China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, and many, many other Asian countries. There's also a bakery, a fish and meat counter, and even a small café where folks can indulge in pre-or-post-shop dumplings.
21200 Miles Rd. 216-518-1600, huaxin.us.
Phillip and Jackie Wachter launched Fount just under two years ago, but already this husband/wife duo has made a name for itself in Cleveland's leather-crafting industry. Each piece of inventory is hand-designed, cut, sewn, and ultimately transformed into stunning hair-on-hide bags ($429), yoga slings ($219), and penny-pouch necklaces ($44), the likes of which we have yet to find anywhere else. Browse their current selection online, and give them a good old fashioned Instagram follow (@fountleathergoods) to keep up with their current stock.
Some say women are hard to shop for, but it's really you men who are the tough ones (we know you didn't really "lose" that Monsters beanie we got you last year). Anyway, Cleveland craftsman Jordan Lee has developed a small but potent line of handmade goods your guy will love, including baseball-stitch card cases, custom-stained Opinel pocketknives, and leather-bound bi-folds, among other things. Browse Lee's selection online or catch him at an upcoming Cleveland Flea.
Those of us in the inner-ring neighborhoods are blessed with any number of places to buy craft beer. The corner shop at the end of your street is probably boasting a selection that would make a beer snob circa 2005 drool with envy. That's great. But when it comes to hard liquor, the options aren't great. So we all end up at the booze oasis known as Tony's on Clark Ave. You can grab some produce (it's like a mini grocery store too) and your lottery tickets, of course, and you can also score some shoes. Yes, Tony's offers a host of Nike knock-offs in one of the center aisles, and while we've never purchased a pair, they look like solid deals.
3114 Clark Ave., 216-651-5700, tonymarkets.com.
The Ripcho family, of the Lorain Avenue photo studio, opened Needs Cleveland last October with the goal of helping Cleveland's neediest families. Their strategy: Make everything free. At Needs Cleveland, which is open just four hours per week, the only rule is that folks limit themselves to five items per family member. Otherwise there are no restrictions. It's just a way for the family to help out and address a glaring need they saw in a town where so many people live in poverty. Despite some cool new developments and shops around the region, Needs Cleveland is hands down the most innovative, and the best, new concept.
7710 Lorain Ave., needscleveland.org.