CLEVELAND,Ohio - A business that was part of the beginning of downtown Cleveland’s revitalization is closing its doors.
Dredgers Union, located on East 4th Street, will have its last day Saturday, Aug. 18. The 4,500 square foot department store will have a 50 percent off closing sale up until then.
“Any true ‘Renaissance’ can take time, and time doesn't always favor those who are at the forefront of change,” the store owners said in an email.
Danielle DeBoe and Sean Bilovecky opened the store in July 2011 hoping to fill a void in the downtown Cleveland retail market.
"There is great momentum happening in Cleveland. Downtown is poised to turn a corner," DeBoe said before the store’s opening.
On Friday, August 10 DeBoe opened doors to a few people straggling in to see what deals they might find. By 1 p.m. two lines had formed on both sides of two cash registers ringing up sales mimicking Christmas store traffic.
"We would have never stayed in business at these prices, but it's nice to see," said DeBoe.
As regular customers streamed in, DeBoe had little time to receive the hugs offered by many of them.
Bringing in small children who amazingly were very patient sitting on the wooden plank floor, young patrons of Dredgers Union who were sold on a product line filled with Cleveland-made and USA-made products since last summer, filled arms and spoke with sadness to each other in line about the store's failure in the predominately restaurant and entertainment oriented E.4th Street.
Downtown worker Chris Lesko walks from The Q to E. 4th Street almost every day. Working for the Cavaliers, she likes to set herself apart style-wise. She was quick to state that she wishes she had a Dredgers Union near her far west side home bordering Crocker Park.
Just to come here and buy great work clothing, there really is no other downtown where you can do that. So to have this place close is just a sad day for E. 4th Street," said Lesko.
In between the first day of sale prices burning up her register, DeBoe, wishes the best for other local retailers and words of advice to future downtown customers.
"Just getting retail stores doors open isn't enough and you know we really do have to fully support our independent stores because it is my belief that they make up the fabric of a neighborhood and they create the personality and add that uniqueness," said DeBoe.
For now, De Boe will concentrate on her other unique and diverse store, Room Service, on West 25th Street. Many of the same theme product-wise can be found there.
Dredgers Union's seven employees, besides DeBoe and Bilovecky, are already being offered jobs elsewhere.
Designer Sean Bilovecky feels his energy needs to go to his small child. "Maybe east coast, maybe west. There isn't much for me here, but I am following up on interesting offers outside of the clothing industry. It was just the time downtown. The big retailers will not come here until the population grows. We gave it a shot and did everything right and thought it all out, it just didn't happen here at this location," said Bilovecky.
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