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New store “Native Cleveland” inspires civic pride

January 27th, 2011

Comedians love us. Others love to hate on us. As a new decade dawns on Cleveland, it would seem there isn’t much to be proud or hopeful of. 

The steel mills sit empty, a reminder of jobs lost. Our stadiums and arenas stay quiet, as the remnants of past successes fade away. 

Forbes magazine has dubbed Cleveland “the most miserable city in the country.” 

However, a new store on the East Side hopes to usher in a new era of civic pride and sense of community.

Native Cleveland, owned by C.L.E. Clothing Co. and located in the Collinwood area eight minutes from downtown, aims to use fresh ideas on fashion to inspire pride and encourage other small businesses. 

At Native Cleveland, you won’t find endless racks of sports-inspired clothing in the typical brown, orange, wine and gold. 

Those are available in the store, but the emphasis is on clothing, jewelry, bags, hats, art and home furnishings made by artists locally and from across the state.

Store manager Megan Coffman recognizes that the store invokes feelings of pride amongst Clevelanders, but sees the greater mission of the store as one that will help local citizens in the long run. 

“We’re inspired mostly by the large sum of local artists popping up lately.” said Coffman. 

She stresses that it is not just a store based on pride apparel and other items. 

The store is meant to be an engine to drive local artists and shoppers to build pride through support of each other.

Coffman also sees it as an alternative to crowded and impersonal shopping centers and malls.

“We’re moving to a do-it-yourself approach that you’re starting to see in the bigger cities versus buying into the corporate world,” she said. 

“We like the idea of people spending their money in the state they’re from.”

Native Cleveland currently carries between 10-12 vendors on a regular basis, and the plan is to add more every month. 

All vendors hail from the Cleveland, Columbus and Akron areas, a clear message by the store’s owners that to make the city and state thrive again, supporting each other is vital.

Many of the items in the store are reasonably priced, an added bonus to the support given to local artists. 

Most adult shirts fall between $20-25. Many of C.L.E. Clothing’s designs feature Cleveland-specific references, including the “Bad to the Bone” tee, the “Brian Brennan” hoodie and the “Never Say Die” tee. 

Two of the unique C.L.E. designs are a gray tee with King Kong climbing the Terminal Tower and a green “Eliot Ness for Mayor” shirt. As they say, only in Cleveland.

For prospective shoppers, there is a “Walk all over Waterloo” weekend on Feb. 11-13 featuring concerts, dining, shopping and art shows happening on the street.  

Native Cleveland will feature a “Valentine’s Gift Pack” featuring a Love Button pack, a Love Ohio Shirt, and Love Ohio underwear sponsored by C.L.E. Clothing.

Native Cleveland is located on 15813 Waterloo Road. Call 216-383-5196 for hours and info.