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Friday, December 27, 2019

Maha's Falafil Closing at the West Side Market, City Announces Goals for 2020 It Probably Won't Accomplish

Posted By on Fri, Dec 27, 2019 at 9:32 AM

  • stu_spivack/FlickrCC

The bad news continues at the West Side Market, which has been the subject of some rough headlines and high-profile departures this year, as Maha's Falafil announced it will close its location at the public market as of Dec. 31. It will continue to operate its stands at Dave's Supermarkets in Ohio City and Midtown.

The city of Cleveland, which owns and operates the market (poorly, at that), has been in spin mode as it faces pressure from vendors, councilpeople and stakeholders in the neighborhood.

Which is why it probably thought it was good PR to issue a press release this week with a bright and shiny list of goals for 2020 at the market. Note, of course, that they are goals, and come with no tangible plans of action. When everyone involved wishes that the city would finally and rightly create a nonprofit structure to manage the market, and when the city has a track record so thoroughly dotted with errors and incompetence, the list comes off as laughable. It'd be easier to take the city seriously if it announced it aimed for basic adequacy rather than more than a dozen major changes, but here we are.

“As we look forward to 2020, the City of Cleveland does not take lightly its important role as the West Side Market’s owner and operator,” Darnell Brown, Chief Operating Officer for the City of Cleveland, said in the press release. “We are committed to preserving this iconic landmark for future generations and look forward to working with our valued tenants to meet our goals.”

Again, the lip service rings hollow, especially given recent history, but everyone will hope for the best.

The city's goals (which would garner far more optimism if the city were not the one managing the market):

· Assess online and delivery platforms to fulfill customer orders
· Incorporate and respond to the public’s survey responses to expand WSM’s social capacity
· Plan for underutilized second floor spaces for new educational, entrepreneurial and social purposes
· Diversify tenants and products at the WSM
· Expand vision for arcade pavilion to diversify product and develop seating options
· Improve relationships with tenants through the tenants board
· Strengthen safety and security plans
· Improve WSM linkages and accessibility with wayfinding signage
· Integrate cost-effective means for vendors and Market to be more environmentally friendly
· Collaborate on innovative ways to attract new customers and improve customer retention
· Design and complete planned capital improvements
· Create an informative customer concierge area for pick-up orders and deliveries
· Develop comprehensive WSM programming plan
· Create new revenue streams via trademarked merchandise, room rentals, events, etc.
· Build a retail incubator program to attract and support new small businesses similar to Mayor Frank G. Jackson’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative GlenVillage site at E. 105 St. in the Glenville Neighborhood

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